Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.

-Matthew 5:8
How we see is connected to our hearts.  I used to think that this verse meant or only meant that the more pure my heart was, that I stood a better chance of seeing God.  The song, “Open The Eyes of My Heart”, by Paul Baloche, from 1998; exemplified this.

I wanted to see God.  My goal was the know God, like the title of the best selling J.I. Packer book.  I also thought that the second part is indeed, “to make Him known”.

Knowing God and making Him known still sounds good and that was my motto for many years.  And that is how I saw purity of heart.

But what I have learned in this middle season of my life, is that God is about making me be like Jesus and experiencing the life of Christ all the time.

I have learned, been learning, that God cares more about how I live all the time.

God cares about how I treat people and how I see people.  We see people, have a thought and take an action.
Christ followers have given God their hearts.  Our hearts overrule our minds.  Our thoughts are governed by our hearts.

If our heart is not in the right place, our thoughts will be askew.

God wants us to look at people from mercy filled hearts that are standing with righteousness.

If we are on our way to seeing God, because of the clearness of the lens of our hearts, we are going to see people more and more, the way that God does.

Jesus is Lord and King, but he is also the servant.  In Christ, we are meek and lowly, always trusting God and at the service of others, while not at all striving, but resting in the Father (Matt. 11;29).

I am learning that God wants me to see people the way He does.  I am also learning to see God the way that Jesus does.  The life of Christ, the Christian life, is the life of seeing God and seeing people.

In each interaction with people.  As I witness others in their speaking and acting, and in how I react or respond; the question is, “Am I seeing them as God sees them, from a pure heart?”

A pure heart is a heart that loves God.  The outward life will match the inward life of a lover of God.

The person who loves God with all their heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5) will show it in not just what they say or do; but in how they live their life, seeing God.  This is what Hebrews 11:27 is saying:

By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible.

Seeing God has always been the highest goal.  It is a goal that is only fully realized in the afterlife.  Our whole lives are lived as ones who desire to see God.

Seeing God is an “already and not yet” concept.  In the now, God is changing, purifying our hearts, so that we can see how He sees, and then in the future, we will see Him clearly.

Right now, for the most part, we are seeing Him who is invisible.  And He is training us to see how He sees.  Jesus is also training us to see and do what the Father is doing (John 5:19).

Each of the beatitudes (fortunate states) build upon each other.  They are circular and organic, like art or music.  Purity of heart is the result of something.

People with pure hearts have already gone through something.  They already have other processes happening in their lives.

These five blessed states of good fortune (beatitudes) have already been going on, in the person’s life, who has purity of heart:

  1. The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 
  2. Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted. 
  3. The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth. 
  4. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled. 
  5. The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.
Each verse sounds good alone and people might quote one of these on a card or for an encouragement.  But they were given in a certain order and in a context.  The sixth blessing or blessed state of purity of heart comes after the previous five.
A person who has a pure heart:

  • will fully see God one day 
  • sees as God sees 
  • sees God working in other people today

That person is in a transformational process.

The first three beatitudes are about our realization of our need for God.  We are powerless and we are not God.  We who have been through the doorway of the first three blessings have become convicted of our personal sin.  
We who have realized we are poor in spirit, mourn and have taken on a life of meekness, because of the humility he have from being humbled to know our weakness, have come into a place of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
This is very different than someone who ‘parachutes in’ to Christianity and says that they hunger and thirst for righteousness.  That person is something different, from the one being described here.  

It is from the place of humility that the meek person thirsts and hungers for righteousness, that God fills.  That person, in turn, becomes a merciful person; who receives and gives, then gives and receives more mercy.

And that person becomes the person who sees God.

If you do not see as God sees, with mercy, then you may have forgotten or are forgetting how much you need God and have stopped living in humility, and may even have stopped hungering for God’s righteousness and have become enamoured at you own.

Have you stopped being humble?  Have you stopped mourning?  Have you become so strong or knowledgable that you are no longer meek, gentle or kind?

That is the kind of person who can not see God.  They think and say that they see God and are telling us that, but they are seeing with distortion or with their own imaginations.  Because you can not have the good fortune of seeing God, while neglecting or forgetting your own bankrupted state of depravity or insubordination, outside of God’s grace that comes only to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

The people who have pure hearts are people who have been mourning about the impurity in their hearts.  Vision of God comes from acknowledging that I am blind.  Seeing people the way God sees people is the result of my grieving that I don’t see them and I don’t get them the way God does.

And this is not a formula, but a life.

When I realize that God loves me, I become secure enough to see God’s love for others and see others through the love of God.  If I a not secure in God’s love, if I do not know He loves me and if I am not living as one who is loved; then I am going to have real problems seeing other people through God’s love.

In these profound sayings, the beatitudes or blessed states or good fortune; Jesus says how the life works and how it works is inside-out.

The pure heart comes from this place of humility and absolute surrender to God.  The work that is already going on in a person, results in purity of heart, which gives a person vision.

If you can not see what God is doing or if you can not see a person with God, then you have a heart problem.  When I am critical of someone, ungracious, not generous, impatient, or oppositional; I might not be seeing the person with God.

God is after changing our hearts.  We don’t want to be people who do the right thing or say the right thing, but have not been transformed in our hearts.  

Mercy People

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

-Matthew 5:7 (CEB, NLT)
Are you a merciful person?  I don’t mean how you see yourself, but I mean what you do.  Merciful means compassionate and kind.
Have you thought about kindness?  God is kind to us and we are kind to others.  The Bible says that God’s kindness is what gets people saved.
I became acquainted with ‘the kindness guy’, Steve Sjogren, a number of years ago.  Steve has a couple of books all about God’s kindness.  I will never forget when my friend Mike and I knocked on doors of businesses, on Valentine’s Day, and gave flowers to ladies, in Jesus name.
Years ago, I also learned about how God heals people because of his mercy and compassion.  In Matthew nine, there is a story of the two blind men, who call out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” (9:27)  And that is the mercy that Matthew has in mind, when he writes down, what Jesus spoke in his beatitudes.

And I also like how The Passion Translation gives this verse:

How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy!  For tender mercy will be demonstrated unto you.

To review what a ‘beatitude’ is:

The beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10, are a list of blessed facets of the followers of Jesus. But “blessed” is a word that we have to make sure we understand. Jesus is not talking about the person whom God blesses, but is describing a happy person, a fortunate person: “someone who is to be congratulated, someone who’s place in life is an enviable one” (RT France, Matthew, p. 108, 1985).

The beatitudes are given in a particular order.  The happiness of a person who shows others mercy follows on the heels of that person’s experience of craving righteousness and justice fulfilled by God.  It starts with a personal reckoning that I am hopeless and utterly impoverished without God.

Personal poverty and hopelessness is the soil from which the life of kingdom of heaven can grow in me.  It is a blessing and I am highly fortunate, if I become aware of this about my self.  The message to me, in personal poverty and hopelessness is, “You are now blessed, because the kingdom of heaven is yours.”

The blessed person who sees themselves as poor and hopeless outside of God begins a life of mourning, that is paradoxically also a happy life.  We continually mourn, but we are continually made happy.  Christ’s followers are happy mourners.

This life of walking with God and following Christ teaches us or trains us to be humble.  Our pride is shifted off of our selves and on to God.  Personal pride just does not work or grow out of an authentic walk with God and a life desiring to follow Christ.

When we follow Christ, our whole life shifts towards God being great, rather than our selves.  But this does not mean that we take on or walk in low self-esteem or being like a worm.  It means that I begin to esteem myself through God’s eyes: “He loves me and God has an inheritance for me that I will offer back to God, The King.”

Then, from the living space of humbly walking with God and receiving an inheritance to give back to the king, believers develop and cultivate a craving for the righteousness and justice of God.  This has nothing to do with and is diametrically opposed  to self-righteousness or works-righteousness.

The basis for the craving for righteous and justice from God, is a broken, hopeless heart, that grieves and mourns, and is humble.

That person becomes a demonstrator of mercy.  They live from mercy and practice mercy with those they meet.  The person who has been through the process that I described has seen the kindness of God and become a kind person.

God is kind.  When we experience God, we experience his kindness.  It is not a one time event, but a relationship.

Is God the kindest person you have ever met?

When we experience his kindness, we become kind people: mercy people.  We have been shown mercy and become demonstrators of mercy, in our lives.

In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a story to illustrate that we ought to demonstrate mercy to others because mercy has been given so greatly to us.  Jesus illustrates how we ought to forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven.  The hard word in the story is, that if we refuse to demonstrate mercy on others, then we forfeit the benefit of God’s mercy in our own lives and become tortured in the prison of insanely trying to pay God for our own sins.

Mercy comes from the inside out.  Mercifulness is reciprocal in that we will not receive it if we do not demonstrate it.

Mercy or kindness, like humility, is a disposition that is a state of being, brought on through encountering God in Christ.  The attitude or the measure of our lives becomes mercifulness or kindness.  Jesus creates character in us first that will act right later.

Christianity is about Christ being in my life and living God’s life.  It is not something I do, but is something I am being.  Having Christ is the first thing and how I act and live comes out of my being in Christ.

I do not take Christianity and master it or make it work for me.  Christianity is where I become controlled and animated, driven or compelled by Christ in me.  To be a Christian is not just to take up Christ’s teachings and live them out, but to take my whole life and give it to Christ to live out.

Christianity that leaves this out, where the man or the woman seeks to follow Christ and his teachings, but never surrenders their whole lives, dying while living, taking up their crosses; is something other than Christian.

Being a mercy person is something you are.  How you treat others in the smallest settings is always the test of your Christlikeness.  To find yourself as having become and now being a mercy person is a blessed and highly fortunate place, says Jesus.

He says that when you are kind to others, you release kindness from others upon you.

What is mercy?  Mercy is different than love, peace, or grace.  Mercy sees misery and wants to relieve it.

Mercy wants to relieve suffering.  Mercy is when someone is suffering, in misery, and you desire to, you want to and you do something to help them.  Mercy is also when someone who has been your foe, who has opposed you, has been rendered powerless or is out of ammunition or sustenance, surrounded or cornered; and rather than destroy them, you have mercy on them.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus illustrates what a mercy person is like.  The shocking part of the story, is that a priest and a Levite each saw the man who had been robbed and beaten, half dead; and they each avoided him.  But the Samaritan man had mercy and stopped and took care of the suffering man. (Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus says that having mercy on people is what the Old Testament command to “love your neighbor” means.  Jesus said that the greatest command in the Law is to love God and the second is to love our neighbor.  And he said that the whole Law and the Prophets hang, depend or are based on these two. (Matt. 22:36)

We always have a merciful stance towards God.  We are in need of mercy and we go about receiving it.  At the same time, we have been transformed into mercy people who are kind.  Kindness is our calling card, what people notice and remember about us; what people experience when we come into contact with them.

Jesus people are mercy people.  Christ-followers are merciful.  To be a Christian is to be kind.

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Notes, Bibliography:

Worm Theology, by Paul Coughlin
Me, Myself and I, by Archibald Hart
Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, D.M. Lloyd-Jones (1959), pp. 95-105
Conspiracy of Kindness: A Unique Approach to Sharing the Love of Jesus, by Steve Sjogren

The Craving For Righteousness and Justice Fulfilled by God

Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

-Matthew 5:7 (CEB, NLT)
Righteousness and justice are what the world needs today.  Agreed?  Righteousness and justice are the need we see in the world today.  
And we hunger and thirst to see things made right and to be bringers of justice.  This is what drives some of us and becomes our mission.  But this is not the mission nor the message of Jesus.
Didn’t Jesus come to save the world, to fix it?  
And isn’t Jesus the answer for all the injustices?  
Isn’t the heart cry of the Christ follower for things to be made right?
Pause.
Jesus’ first audience for this word, were people who had been slaves as a people.  
Jesus’ first audience for this word, were people who were living under a brutal occupation by a violent, unjust government.  
Jesus’ first audience were very likely people who wanted to see justice and things made right in the world.
The injustice and unrighteousness in the world was real then and it is real now.  God sees it.  But Jesus’ word here is a personal word to each person, who would consider following him.
We misunderstand Jesus, if we hear him say that he gets it, that we have injustice and unrighteousness in our society and he is going to fix it.  
We misunderstand Jesus if we hear him sending us as messengers of justice and community organizers of righteousness.  
We misunderstand Jesus if we are driven in our lives for justice and righteousness in our society.
Jesus did not come to bring social justice.  
Jesus did not come to bring justice and make things right in our societies then and now.  
He came to reconcile us to God and to reveal God to us and to bring God’s kingdom of which God is the king of and we become subjects to.
That is why he came and that is his message.  His message is to repent of all of your sins and to make him Lord and give up your life for him.  His message is to know God’s love and then begin loving others.
Those who are his followers are naturally going to crave righteousness and hunger and thirst after justice.  
But it is not because we see Jesus message and mission as bringing social justice to the world.  
We crave righteousness and thirst and hunger for justice, because we are pursuing God to the extreme.
This word about those who crave righteousness and hunger and thirst for justice is the fourth blessed state for the follower who has begun to experience the first three beatitudes.  These have a synergy that is started by encountering God in his son.  These involve the experience of personal poverty, bankruptcy and emptiness that turns towards Jesus for a changed life:

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

Jesus is not saying, “I get it, now here’s the plan to change society”.

He instead says that it is all about laying down your whole life to God.

“God is king and God loves you”, is Jesus message.

When I come through that door, I am going to have to change how I live.  And that is what Jesus is teaching us about.  Jesus’ followers are hopeless, they grieve and they are made humble through that experience or process, which goes on through their whole lives.  And these humbled ones crave righteousness in their lives.

We have it backwards, if we think that now that we understand God, through Christ, we are going to bring justice to the world.  That is proud, self-righteousness.

This desire for justice, that Jesus is talking about, comes in the context of relationship with God that is intensely personal.  It is not about social or societal justice.

Jesus words are about intimacy with God.  The bedrock of his whole message is the Father’s love for each one of us.  None of the rest of it works, if we do not experience the affection of Father.

When you have a foretaste, you get a taste for something.  And that is how it is with Christ.  And his righteousness, that we crave, comes through humility: it is not at all proud or self-righteous.

Christ’s followers never look down on others in a self-righteous fashion, because we are continually embracing the humility that Jesus weaves into our lives as we follow him.  That is what bearing your cross is about.

When we set aside or set down our personal crosses and try to live, try to function and talk to others, there is a good chance that we will come across and pretty much be self-righteous people who are bad representatives of our Lord.  We’ll be giving lip service to Jesus being Lord, but acting like we are bosses.

The righteousness that Jesus followers desire comes from hearts that are completely without hope in themselves and continually grieve their own hopelessness.  The craving for justice is through personal encounter with Christ, Jesus as Lord, and we know that true justice is only through him.

The hunger, the thirst and the craving is not to see righteousness and justice come about on earth through earthly means.  But it is to see heaven on earth.  This is like that hunger or craving that David was talking about in Psalm 42:

Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
my whole being craves you, God.
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
When will I come and see God’s face?

The hunger for righteousness and justice is the also like the hunger Isaiah wrote of in chapter 55:

All of you who are thirsty, come to the water!

Whoever has no money, come, buy food and eat!
Without money, at no cost, buy wine and milk!
Why spend money for what isn’t food,
and your earnings for what doesn’t satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is good;
enjoy the richest of feasts.

God is not trying to get us involved in social justice.  God wants to bring heaven to earth, though the lives of the saints. This is the birthright of followers of Christ.

Are we asking God to bring the kingdom or are we trying to bring our version of it?

The righteousness that Jesus is speaking of, that his followers will crave, is the desire to trust in God more and to be obedient to him more fully.  This is the goal of the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.  That is what Jesus is saying.

What Jesus is saying is that his disciples will hunger and thirst, even crave to live before God, in lives that are unmarred by sinfulness.  The child of God lives a life fully vindicated in Father’s love.

Have you ever heard and wondered about the Negro Spirituals, written by slaves that expressed sorrow and joy?

The believer lives in a paradox of an unjust world, under a loving God who is king.  We can and do cry out, “how long?”, and remain living in His love.

He makes a way through and we get confused sometimes because we are so eagerly looking for a way out.

God’s answer to the thirst, hunger and craving for things to be made right is intensely personal.

God’s answer is not just a deeper and wider heart; but also for real deliverance and real change in the physical world.

The kingdom of God coming affects our insides and our world around us.  It is not just one or the other.

The Psalms are filled with songs that say, “I cried to the Lord in my distress, and he delivered me.”

The Psalms tell stories of rags to riches and restored fortunes.

But there is also that in-between time, when deliverance, healing, justice and righteousness are “not yet”.

One way to look at the whole kingdom of God is that is is “already and not yet”.  Everybody that is not healed yet, is not whole yet, is not delivered yet or has not come into their destiny yet; is in the “not yet” of the kingdom.  Being a child of God and a citizen of the kingdom means that we always have the hope that there no longer be a “not yet”, at some point.  Nevertheless, we live and breathe in the, “already and the not yet”, season in many arenas.

But God is always good and we can always trust God.  Psalm 107 tells this story of people who were hungry and thirsty for God’s justice and righteousness.  Here are the first nine verses:

“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever!”
That’s what those who are redeemed by the Lord say,
the ones God redeemed from the power of their enemies,
the ones God gathered from various countries,
from east and west, north and south.

Some of the redeemed had wandered into the desert, into the wasteland.
They couldn’t find their way to a city or town.
They were hungry and thirsty;
their lives were slipping away.
So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances.
God led them straight to human habitation.
Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people,
because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst,
and he filled up the hungry with good things!

The rest of Psalm 107 tells amazing stories of people and God.  This hunger and thirst were real.  God’s deliverance was real.

What people need is God’s deliverance.

Today, we need the great God of man and woman, not the great man or woman of God.  We need and people need God’s intervention.  We are dead and need to be made alive.

There is no program and method that we have that will bring about what people need.  Our brokenness is beyond repair and hopeless.  God’s intervention is our only hope.

And God has already come in Christ to a dying world.  And God is here in this world, ready and willing and filled with desire to save us.  Turning again to God for answers is the only way and the only hope.

And the good news is that some people are already doing this and they are abounding with fruitfulness, because they have ‘put all their eggs in the one basket’.  The invitation to join with the ones already sold out for Jesus stands to all.  He promises fruitfulness to us, as we put all our our hope and trust in him.

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness,
because they will be fed until they are full.”

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Bibliography:

Common English Bible (2011)
Matthew: Our Loving King, B. Simmons (2014), p. 24
Matthew, R.T. France (1985), p. 110
Matthew, D.A. Hagner, (1993), p. 93
Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, D.M. Lloyd-Jones (1959), p. 73

Humbled But Happy

Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

-Matthew 5:5 (CEB, NLT)
The blessings of God are laid out sequentially, by Jesus.  They build upon each other.  Each one of these are called by him, ‘fortunate situations to be envied’: that is what ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ means here.
We first agree with God that we are hopeless and poor without God and then begin living our lives as ‘happy mourners’.  We live in the kingdom of God, receiving its treasures.  And we live with broken hearts that are continually comforted by our Father.
After these fortunate states have been established in our lives, we are in a place where we have been humbled.  We now have a measure of humility from which to live.  And the reward for a life of humility towards God is inheriting the earth.
Jesus way and Jesus words are the complete opposite of the way of the world and the way that many in his first audience and today’s audience are expecting to do life.  There are several ways we say this today in Christian circles, but what it comes down to is an elevation of self, for the glory of God.
‘God loves a winner’, really is not the message.  ‘God loves loves losers’ or ‘God loves failures’, is a lot closer to the truth.  Jesus says, “Blessed are people who have been humbled by God”.  We are hopeless without God and we are mourning our hopelessness, and this has been profoundly humbling.
If you have not gotten in touch with your hopeless state and if you have not been grieving your hopelessness; then you probably have not been humbled and this saying of Jesus does not resonate with you.
If it is true that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble, where does that leave the Christian who is not humble?
The most powerful person, who had every reason to be proud, was also the meekest person to ever live.  Jesus is our example, our forerunner and the one who teaches us how to live and then lives that life out through us, as we yield to him.
To the ones who would say that we have to harness politics to get God’s way or that we somehow need military or political power to do God’s will, comes these words of Jesus:
  • Embrace your hopelessness and encounter the kingdom of God.
  • Mourn the hopelessness and be comforted by God.
  • Let these humble you (be humbled by God) and receive an inheritance of the earth.

Yes, we do get to receive from God.  But the one’s who receive are the humbled ones.  In other words, before ‘Carpe diem’ comes, ‘Be humbled by God’.

Most everywhere we look in Christianity and pseudo-Christianity and even in the cults, is this idea that we can do this and God will do that.  There are all sorts of teachings that do not necessarily agree with each other, but they have that same bottom line: do this and God will do that.
But, Jesus says something very different and the whole Bible is behind him.  Jesus says to trust God, follow God, give your whole life to God; because of who God is.  Then Jesus says that we are to stay in that relationship with God as God the God and God almighty, while God does not do what we want him to do, whatever it is, and to stay with God; and thereby be humbled.
Jesus says to let yourself be humiliated by God and to still follow him.  This is a hard saying and Jesus deliberately says these things to wake us up to the seriousness of following him and being his disciples.
I suspect that many Christians are not happy and are not content because they have not gone through the first steps of letting God humble them and have never gotten this message.  
What is this humility, this meekness that Jesus speaks of that we are to have?
  • Accepting God’s dealings that are contrary to what I want without complaining, resisting or rebelling.
  • Living in ‘Thy will be done’, from a bowed heart; toward God.
  • Believing that God is sovereign and has a way that often is not my way.
  • Not being provoked to ‘tit for tat’ payback.
  • Meeting evil with good.
  • Not being irritable, but being at peace, in God, no matter what people do.
  • Not demanding being, or feeling, entitled to being treated positively by others.
  • CONTENTMENT
    • Always satisfied
    • ‘Having nothing, possessing everything.’
    • ‘All things are yours.’
  • You can not make yourself meek through a vow of poverty or becoming a monk.  
    • Only the Holy Spirit can make you meek.  
    • You can not do it on your own.  
    • All Christians have The Holy Spirit.
      • The Holy Spirit is our helper who helps us know our hopelessness and points us to the kingdom, and stands by our sides in our mourning, to receive comfort from God; and fashions meekness in our lives in the shape of Jesus.

Happy Mourners

Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
-Matthew 5:4 (CEB, NLT)

Have you wept lately?  Have you wept over your sin?  Have you wept over the sins of others?

That is a mark of an authentic Christian.  If you are not mourning over your spiritual bankruptcy then do not claim to be a Christian.  Grieving your hopelessness is the path of Christ that we walk on.

Being grieved over the sin around us is also the way of life for the disciple of Jesus.  The message of Jesus Christ to the world dying in sin has always been, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”.  This is the message that Christ followers carry into the world today and we carry it and communicate it from broken hearts.

God is not angry at the world, but grieved and broken hearted for a people trapped in sin.  We have the privilege of sharing God’s heart of mercy and compassion for the lost.  Our lives are filled with immense joy and sorrow.  Joy over the found and sorrow over the lost.

Anger is not the path to God.  Anger is not the path to righteousness.  But we get very angry at our own sins and the sins of others and are grieved by the hopelessness of lives without God’s intervention.

Have you wept over you sinfulness lately?  Mourning yourself is not a bout of self-pity.  Mourning yourself is the cry of your heart for God’s salvation to change you.

Imagine that I cry for myself over a failure in my life, saying, “You can do better than that!”  And then I promise myself I will not do that again.  That is not the way of Christ.

Imagine that I weep and testify about how others hurt me or slighted be.  I am entitled to be offended and tell anyone who will listen about my story of aggrievement.  That is not the way of Christ.

Getting stung by unrighteousness in myself or from others and living in the grief of the hopelessness, with my face towards God: that is the way of Christ.

When we seek to cover up our sin, that dressing is our reward.  When we blame or shame we stay the same.  But when we grieve it and leave it to God, we are his children.

God’s children rely on God.  God is the only hope for God’s children.  God’s children look to and receive comfort in their sadness over the hopeless wreck of sin.

Children of God live lives of repentance and rest in Father and are saved.  Children of Father always know that God is good.  We know that Christ has made us his disciples to know his father.

The only way to be saved is to let go of saving myself and turn to God to save me.  The only way to deal with my sin and the sin of others is to turn to God.  The only way of happiness or comfort from sin, poverty of spirit and sheer hopelessness, is God.

The way has been made and it is the way that Christ calls his followers to live in and walk in.  We live our lives in grief and the happiness of the comfort of God.  And we share that life and invite others into that life of comfort and happiness from the grief and hopelessness that sin brings.

We are all beggars showing other beggars where to find the bread.  We are carriers of happiness in sad times.  We carry God’s comfort to the grieving.

Mourning and comfort, grieving and being made glad go together.  We are not comforted or made comfortable apart from our mourning.  And we are not made glad or truly happy apart from our grief.

We are neither just happy all the time and never sad, nor are we in permanent gloom mode.  But we are continually having our mourning turned into dancing, through the transformational work of God.  This is the inheritance of the people of God.

We are designed to mourn and grieve when things go wrong, when there is death, dying, hopelessness or rot.  We do not avoid the experience of grieving or mourning.  We do not at all ‘glide above it’, or, ‘steer away from it’.  But believers mourn and grieve often.

Have you wept lately, over your sin or the sins of others?  Have you mourned the lack of righteousness in yourself and the ones around you?  Have you met with God in your grief?

When we are no longer babes in Christ, who only drink milk and need diapers, we walk in the school of Christ, with Christ, as his learners.  And life with others is the class room.  Along the way and even immediately, we will suffer.

There is a saying that says, ‘suffering will make you either bitter or better’.  We know that the better way is the way of God, where we look to God in our suffering and God comforts us or makes us glad.

Something bad happens.  A loss, a death, a sin; and you turn to God in what is hopeless and God comforts you.  This is not a ‘dashboard Jesus’, or, ‘I said these affirmations and felt better’, sort of thing; but a touch from Father.

I have learned to call it being, ‘strangely comforted’.  It does not make sense.  I don’t think I am in denial about what just happened.  But I am comforted and even happy, while still sad about the loss.

The highest walk that the road of discipleship leads to is the fellowship in sufferings with Christ that are his.  The shortest verse in the New Testament is one of the most meaningful ones: ‘Jesus wept’.  His tears were not out of control, but they also were not just wet eyes.  He burst forth in tears.

Jesus also wept for Jerusalem, about the sinful blindness of missing their day of visitation.  He wept over what he saw coming for Jerusalem.  We would do well to follow Jesus example in mourning for the lost and being sad about the fruits of sin.

The same people called to the mission of spreading the good news about Jesus, all Christians, are a broken hearted people.  We both carry the good news and proclaim it to a lost world and we weep and mourn and live in grief over our sinful state of hopelessness.

We never look down on sinners, ourselves or others.  But love is the name of the game.  The life of Christ is not a life of trying to do the right thing and then feeling ashamed I didn’t cut it and then shaming all those out there and in here, who also aren’t cutting it.

Shame is when you feel bad and identify yourself as bad.  Shameful Christians feel bad for their sins and try to make others feel bad for theirs.  The shame game is not at all the way of Christ.

The difference is that we do feel bad for our sin and we do feel hopeless about the sinful condition, but we do not identify or take on the identity of being bad.  And while we do realize and sometimes say that what others do is bad, we do not identify them as bad.

But we see people as loved and in need of redemption, salvation and transformation that all comes through God’s love in Christ.  In seeing people beginning with our own selves, through love, God’s love; we are always vulnerable to being broken hearted over unrighteousness and spiritual poverty or sinfulness.

And we are learning to feel it.  We are learning to experience the sadness in our hearts, from God’s heart.  We are living lives where we often weep and mourn and continually turn to God for consolation.  Our lives are full of sadness, as Jesus’ life was; but we are also truly happy, like him, because of the love of our Father.

Happy Are People Who Are Hopeless

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

-Matthew 5:3 (CEB, NLT)
The beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10, are a list of blessed facets of the followers of Jesus.  But “blessed” is a  word that we have to make sure we understand.  Jesus is not talking about the person whom God blesses, but is describing a happy person, a fortunate person: “someone who is to be congratulated, someone who’s place in life is an enviable one” (RT France, Matthew, p. 108, 1985).
The second part of this saying, usually translated “poor in spirit” (Blessed are the poor in spirit) has to do with poverty inside of us.  Poor people have a frame of mind that comes from their destitution, desperateness and their experience of oppression: “Happy are the oppressed”, is the way Donald Hagner has translated Matt. 5:3 (D. Hagner, Matthew, p, 87, 1993).
We can easily step back and hear Jesus say these words to other people, poor people or bummed out people, and wonder, “how on earth do his words apply to my life?”  But, Jesus is saying that the happy person, with the fortunate life, is a person who has poverty inside of them.

How can hopelessness equal happiness?  How can happiness come out of hopelessness?

I want happiness and I want good fortune.  Yes I do.  Jesus is saying that these come from hopelessness: being ‘poor in spirit’.

“I’m not sure what you mean by that, Jesus”

When someone says, “I am just so blessed”, and they point to their children, their home, their friends, their church or their good health; that is not at all what Jesus is referring to here.  Jesus is stating that the happy person who has the happy life is the radically humble person: hopeless.

Without hope in myself equals the happy life, and the life of good fortune.   And that life is the doorway into the life in the kingdom of heaven that starts now.

Our hopelessness in ourselves is magnified when we look at Jesus, and not the other way around.

Some of us are not hopeless in ourselves, when we look at Jesus Christ.  We say, “He is our hope”, and I believe that.  But we get into deep trouble in how we seek to commoditize Jesus and take him into our lives for unlimited success.

We are saved, born again believers.  We get it about Jesus and we say He is Savior and Lord and we are committed to Him and His cause in the world.  And we are discovering how we fit into the world now as Christians and we are going to take Jesus or His message to wherever we are going.

We are going to leverage our talents, our education, place in the community: everything we have for God, for Christ.  We are pumped, excited and so ready to go.

That person is excited to sit down with Jesus and show him his or her plans.  We ask Jesus to get into our car or truck and take him around our property or job site or factory site or place where we are going to build for Him, for His glory.  “Look at what I am going to do for you, see my degrees, my resume, my connections that are all gonna be used for the mission.”

Take that person, and go back to the mountain and sit and hear Jesus, with all his other followers.  Hear Jesus say these words:

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

Again, I am thinking that this might not be for me.  But it is for me, because he looked me in the eye when he said it.  I still do not understand. 
Jesus is teaching something profound.  He is explaining how being in the kingdom and being his disciple works.  And we have to be careful not to just see and hear Jesus as our teacher, but as our Savior.  He is not  just a teacher, but our Redeemer.  He has come to make us what he teaches we should be (Chambers, My Utmost, p. 203).

It is also impossible to understand or experience this word, outside of Jesus accomplishing it in me, because I have to unconditionally surrender all of my life and every asset and liability to him, for any of his words to work in my life

If you are not born again, born from above or saved: if you are not a believer who has put your faith in Christ; the Sermon on the Mount will read as an idealistic philosophy.  And you will muse, “that is interesting”, and believe that, “perhaps some saints down through the ages attained it, but it is too hard for us.”  And if part of you wants to follow this Jesus, you end up feeling bad because what he asks and says about his requirements for his followers is pretty much impossible.
And the other road that people put themselves on is a road where we tighten our belts, seek to put steel in our spines and trudge on and into Jesus commands and teachings.  We think we are having victory and do the “look mom, no hands!” thing, but we are following the path of self-righteousness and our hearts are cold.  When we do this, the Lord might set us up for heartbreak or put up some obstacle, to get our attention and to get us in touch with the real hopelessness in “doing it for ourselves”, so that we might turn to him and be saved.

If we miss this entryway, this path, then we will misunderstand all of Jesus words that follow.  We need to understand what it means to be a blessed person who is poor in spirit or a happy person who lives in the reality of the hopelessness in themselves, in order to live the life in Christ.

To better understand what Jesus meant and how it applies or works, I want to share a number of quotes from Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), who was a Welsh Protestant preacher, minister, and medical doctor.

These quotes are from D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, Chapter Four, Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit; pp. 42-52, (1959, 1993):
  • There is no one in the kingdom of God who is not poor in spirit.
  • All other characteristics are the result of this one.
  • We cannot be filled until we are first empty.
  • You remember the words of Simeon concerning our Lord and Savior when he held Him as an infant in his arms?  He said, ‘this child is set for the fall and rising of many’.  The fall comes before the rising again.  It is an essential part of the gospel that conviction must always precede conversion; the gospel of Christ condemns before it saves.
  • I would say that there is no more perfect statement of the doctrine of justification by faith only than this Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
  • This is the foundation for everything else.
  • It condemns every idea of the Sermon on The Mount which thinks of it in terms of something you and I can do do ourselves, something we can carry out.  It negatives that at the very beginning.
  • The Sermon on The Mount , in other words, comes to us and says, ‘There is the mountain that you have to scale, the heights you have to climb; and the first thing you must realize, as you look at the mountain which you are told you must ascend, is that you cannot do it, that you are utterly incapable in and of yourself, and that any attempt to do it in your own strength is proof positive that you have not understood it.’  It condemns at the very outset the view which regards it as a programme for man to put into operation immediately, just as he is.
  • You will never find a greater antithesis to the worldly spirit and outlook than which you find in this verse.  What emphasis the world places on self-reliance, self-confidence and self-expression!  Look at its literature.  If you want to get on in this world, it says, believe in yourself.
  • If you want to succeed in a profession, the great thing is to give the impression that you are actually more successful than you actually are, and people say, ‘That is the man to go to’.  That is the whole principal on which life is run at this present time– express yourself, believe in yourself, realize the powers that are innate in yourself and let the whole world see and know them.
  • Now in this verse we are confronted with something which is in utter and absolute contrast to that…
  • What does it mean to be poor in spirit?… To be ‘poor in spirit’ does not mean that we should be retiring, weak or lacking in courage.
  • To be ‘poor in spirit’ is not a matter of the suppression of the personality.
  • It was the spirit of a man like Gideon, for instance, who, when the Lord sent an angle to him to tell him the great thing he was to do, said, ‘No, no, this is impossible; I belong to the lowest tribe.’
  • You find it in David, when he said, ‘Lord who am I that thou should come to me?’
  • You get it in Isaiah in exactly the same way.  Having had a vision, he said, ‘I am a a man of unclean lips’.  That is to be ‘poor in spirit’, and it can be seen right through the Old Testament.
  • But let us look at it in the New testament.  You see it perfectly, for instance, in a man like apostle Peter, who was naturally aggressive, self-assertive, and self-confident– a typical modern man of the world, brimful this confidence and believing in himself.  But look at him when he truly sees the Lord.  He says, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’
  • …being ‘poor in spirit’.  It means a complete absence of pride, a complete absence of self-assurance and self-reliance.  It means a consciousness that we are nothing in the presence of God,  It is nothing, then, that we can produce; it is nothing that we can do in ourselves.  It is just this tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face to face with God.  This is to be ‘poor in spirit’.
  • It is to feel that we are nothing, and that we have nothing, and that we look to God in utter submission to Him and in utter dependence upon Him and His grace and mercy.
  • Am I like that, am I poor in spirit?  How do I really think about myself when I think of myself in terms of God, and in the presence of God?  And as I live my life, what are the things I am saying, what are the things I am praying about, what are the things I like to think of with regard to myself?
  • How does one become ‘poor in spirit’?  The answer is that you do not look at yourself or begin by trying to do things to yourself.  That was the whole error of monasticism.  Those poor men in their desire to do this said, ‘I must go out of society, I must scarify my flesh and suffer hardship, I must mutilate my body.’  No, no, the more you do that the more you will be conscious of yourself, and the less ‘poor in spirit’.
  • It is also to look at the Lord Jesus Christ and to view Him as we see Him in the gospels.  The more we do that the more we shall understand the reaction of the apostles when, looking at Him and something He had just done, they said, ‘Lord, increase our faith.’  Their faith, they felt, was nothing.  They felt it was so weak and so poor.  ‘Lord. increase our faith.  We thought we had something because we had cast out devils and preached Thy word, but now we feel we have nothing; increase our faith.’  Look at Him; and the more we look at Him, the more hopeless shall we feel by ourselves, and in and of ourselves,  and the more shall we become ‘poor in spirit’.  Look at Him.  Keep looking at Him.  Look at the saints, look at the men who have been most filled with the Spirit and used.  But above all, look again at Him, and then you will have nothing to do to yourself.  It will be done.  You cannot truly look at Him without feeling your absolute poverty, and emptiness.  Then you say to Him,
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling
  • Empty, hopeless, naked, vile.  But He is the all-sufficient One-
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come
-Quoted from D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, pp. 42-52, (1959, 1993)

Total Reliance on God is The Only Door To A Blessed Life

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying:

“The poor in spirit are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Those who mourn are blessed,
for they will be comforted.
The gentle are blessed,
for they will inherit the earth.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,
for they will be filled.
The merciful are blessed,
for they will be shown mercy.
The pure in heart are blessed,
for they will see God.
The peacemakers are blessed,
for they will be called sons of God.
Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

-Matthew 5:1-10
Wherever we are in our life with God, the question we all have is, “how?”  How do we live the life?  This was the question on the minds of Jesus first followers, the early church and all the way up to today.
Some people are waiting on God and wonder what they are supposed to do while waiting.  Some people are walking with God and they are wondering how they are supposed to live.  And some people believe God is about to bless them with a whole new set of gifts or put wind in their sails or gas in the tank of their life and they are gonna take off and they are asking how they should live or prepare themselves to live.
As I open up Matthew 5 and see the crowds that Jesus saw, these are some of the questions I think that they had that were universal questions in the human heart that we also have today.  Today, we are in that crowd that is following Jesus  Each one of us are in a different place with God.  We come from different backgrounds and we have different ideas about what the life of God in people’s lives is all about.  We probably have more in common than we think.
Everyone is just trying to survive.  Married people are just trying to stay married and keep the peace with one another and keep on the the three legged race or two becoming one.  Couples are just trying to raise their kids in our ever so fast changing and dangerous world.  Couples without kids, singles young and old, people who have become homeless, people who are in trouble or have become incarcerated, people who are in a battle for their lives with a disease or a debilitating problem embedded in their soul that they can not shake.
This is small sampling of what people are going through.  Everyone is carrying secrets of suicide, abortion, divorce, secret addictions, self-hate, unresolved issues from their families of origin and betrayal.  Much of the world today is marred and scarred by war, famine and human trafficking, where people are treated worse than cattle as sex slaves and work slaves.
These are the faces in the crowd on the earth who are looking to Jesus for help, for guidance, for a way out and a way in and on with God.  The cry of the heart is “help!” and “how?”.  “How?”, comes way after “help!”, and we get so wrapped up in asking for help, and I do not blame us when we have crisis and insurmountable problems; that we are not even that concerned with the “how?”  We say, “I don’t care how, just help me!”
To all of us, Jesus comes, knowing we have come to him because we have wanted something.  And Jesus says, “Here is how you must live”.  But is is not his new legalism.
Jesus does not teach us how to live, so that we can gain merit with God.  Jesus teaches us about how to live after we have gained merit with God through him.  As we walk on with Christ, or walk with God in Christ, our new life in Christ is going to look, feel and act different than our lives before or outside of Christ.
We have the crowds coming to Jesus and we have His disciples who came to him and we have Jesus teaching them all.  The crowds are followers with all levels of commitment to Jesus.  The disciples are learners.  You can be in the crowd and be or not be a disciple, and you can be a disciple who doesn’t get it or has some things mixed up.
Jesus taught people in very small to much larger groups.  At times he taught larger groups with parables that seemed to be on purpose hard, if not impossible to understand, unless he explained them, which he sometimes did not do, when he taught.  This was not preaching (proclaiming), but teaching (explaining).  Jesus seemed to preach to wider, larger audiences; and taught smaller more committed groups.
And whether he preached or taught, the topic was usually (always) the kingdom of God.  The disciples and Paul preached the kingdom and taught how to live in the kingdom.  Preaching is a call and teaching is explaining and instruction.
Jesus begins with these eight items, points, or sayings, that each build upon the previous one; before he goes into detailed teaching explaining how to live the life.  We call these ‘beatitudes’ which means, ‘blessed state’.  In other words, this is how we live on and in the blessing of God.
Again, these are not rules on how to get merit or favor with God.  But these are how to face God, live our lives and interact with God on the one hand and people on the other.  These are how the blessed ones live.
Christ in us lives the way Jesus describes.  All that Jesus is saying is for us to let him grow in us in how he does life.  And again, a Christian is a person united with Christ who now has Christ’s life living through theirs.
You can attend Christian meetings and even become a Christian scholar, writer, or clergyperson, through the ropes and levers of Christian academia, but not be a person in Christ, not really be a Christian.  And being a Christian is not even about how you live, but it is about letting Christ live in you.
All of that is the introduction to Jesus first words, his first saying, his first piece of teaching; that is the foundation for the whole of his set of teachings about how to live the life, that we have called “The Sermon on The Mount”.  
It is funny that there is no mountain there, near the Sea of Galilee or Capernaum, but plenty of hills.  Matthew was perhaps using a bit of hyperbole and the point being that this audience was steeped in the law of Moses that was famously delivered to him by God, on a mountain top, in the midst of a terrifying cloud.  Jesus came and sat at the top of a hill, a nice hill perhaps, probably on a beautiful, sunny day, with a bit of wind and beautiful birds and various flowers and vegetation growing around.
The object lesson is that Jesus supersedes Moses.  Only He fulfilled the law and we can only live righteous lives through him.  It is all going to be about him now, to walk with God and live the life of a believer.
The new order is superseding the old order.  The old covenant was brilliant, but the new covenant is superseding it.  Fulfilling your duties in and through the law of Moses, to keep the relationship with God going is over and Christ, Messiah is here with the new.
God has always wanted to save everyone.  And the Jewish people were his ambassadors, missionaries and showcase of his grace to the whole world.  And they failed to evangelize the world and the world was in a large degree hostile to them and the message they carried.
Jesus as a Jew, came and fulfilled the Jewish destiny and aims to evangelize the whole world, every tribe and tongue.  Jesus fulfilled and is fulfilling all the promises of God to and through Israel and all of his followers are a part of it.
In this collection of sayings that Jesus began to teach from the little mountain is his big message of the new order and how to live in the new covenant and how to live in the kingdom of God.
Here is the foundation that all of what follows rests upon.  And if we do not get this and live in this place, we can not live the life.

The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

We get the kingdom, we get blessed in the kingdom, in our lives through our poverty of spirit.  The Passion Translation has it like this: “What wealth is offered you when you feel your spiritual poverty!”  “The total reliance on God is the doorway into the kingdom realm”, writes Brian Simmons, in his footnotes.

The only door into the kingdom and walking in the kingdom is saying, “I have nothing from me”.  The more rich in spirit that I see myself as, the less I am walking in the kingdom.  So, the way it works is that we do have stuff to give, all sorts of things starting with love; but they come from and through God, our utter and total reliance and allegiance and dependency on God; and it is through Christ.

Everything I do, seek to accomplish or dream of becoming completely depends on my totally relying on God.  I am bless as I sense, realize and know my own spiritual poverty outside of God.

How can we understand how the opposite is not bless and the kingdom is not theirs?  The rich in spirit are not blessed and the kingdom of heaven is not theirs.  What would that mean?

The so-called or self-identified “rich in spirit’ are self-righteous people.  When you are “rich in spirit”, you are self-reliant and say, “I’ve got this”, in your life.  And the kingdom of heave is not theirs.  Instead they have an earthly kingdom.

Earthly kingdoms are built on self-righteousness and self-reliance.  We are vulnerable to flipping over to this mode at any time and that is why Jesus puts it first as a warning because it shuts the door of kingdom blessing in our lives.

Jesus offers a new way, beyond and superseding the old way, to walk in the kingdom of heaven.  To follow him means to come through him into a spacious, wide and deep life all through him, beheld by God.  His call is to come out of religion, self live and doing life on our own and see our inability and surrender our lives unconditionally to Him and let our selves be free to go on with Him.

A poem:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth without any bread;

And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

My Mourning

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

-Matthew 5:4

If Jesus said God blesses the people who mourn, then mourning is alright.  Even Jesus mourned (John 11:35).  Tears are good.

I was at a lecture, and I suddenly felt very sad, about a loss in my life.  There was a grief, a loss, to mourn.  We call it “grief work”.  Many of us have pockets of loss or hurtful memories in our hearts.  More than a few times, a scene in a movie has resonated with my grief or loss; and I am suddenly bursting into tears.

I also had a dream this past week, and in it, I was reciting a disappointment, which was mourning a loss.  It got my attention and I agreed to grieve it.  If we ignore our “grief work”, the hurts stay with us and contaminate our lives.

Blessed are those who mourn their losses.

We need to let go of the hurt, so that we can take hold of the new beginnings, the new seasons, and the second chances.  For example, when you suffer a loss; if you stay in the place of hurt and judgement and anger and resentment, you are looking at and holding onto the old.  That is your obsession and your heart is full of it.

When a new opportunity comes, you cannot see it or take it in, because you are preoccupied with the loss of the past.  In God’s kingdom, we get forgiven, we forgive others, and God brings new beginnings and the second chances (and third and forth chances).

In God’s kingdom, it is a “fail-safe” environment.  We can try things and fail at them.  We can miss things, but different things come, that we get a chance at.  We can be sinned against, ripped off, lied about, or bullied by others; and God makes up for it.

The one who is stuck, sometimes says, “why oh why did God allow thus and so”.  Then they theologize and surmise that their experience of loss means that either God is not good or God is not powerful.  Both of these positions are false.

God gives life.  In living, God gives us the gift of mourning or grieving our losses.  Everyone’s story has losses and God’s compensation.  “Beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” (Isa. 61:3)  If you suffered a loss, God has compensation for you, but you have to take hold of Christ (Phil. 3:12) and work it out (Phil. 2:12).  Part of that is mourning.

Without mourning, you don’t experience morning.

God has a new day for people who have suffered, but they have to grieve the loss.  Some people laugh inappropriately, when they should be mourning.  James wrote, “Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.” (James 4:9)

Some of our losses are linked with what we have done.  Sarcasm and masochism are not the answer.  Mourning is the answer and healing.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isa. 61:1).  He came to tell mourners that the day of God’s favor is here (Isa. 61:2).

To receive, you must grieve.

I believe in riding the wave of mourning in our lives, and receiving the blessing of being healed by Jesus from any and all loses.  We do let it go and we do get over it, but not as the world does (1 Thess. 4:13).  The healing and the freedom comes from and through Christ.

He heals my life.  He is my compensation.  He always has a plan, even when I have failed or others fail me.  He is always good.  He always has a way because he is the way.  In him there is always provision.  He is my hope.

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