Powerful Quotes

                                  

                             Rev. L. Goodwin

                              PURPOSE   AND VISION QUOTES

“A pessimist is one who feels bad when he feels good for fear he will feel worse when he feels better”  – Anon

“If God is not first in our thoughts in the morning, it is likely He will be last in our thoughts all day” –  Anon       

“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing” – George Sweeting

Sir Isaac Newton is remembered as a renowned 17th century scientist who discovered the law of gravity. What many people don’t know is that he was also a dedicated Christian. In fact while at the height of his career in physics & mathematics, he decided to turn his attention towards studying God’s Word. When one of his fellow scientists tried to lure him back to intensive scientific research, Newton replied “I do not want to be trifling away my time when I should be about the king’s business.” Although he retained his interest in science, he wanted his top priority to be his theological pursuits – Anon 

“There is a true story that comes from the sinking of the Titanic. A frightened woman found her place in a lifeboat that was about to be lowered into the raging north Atlantic. She suddenly thought of something she needed, so she asked permission to return to her stateroom before they cast off. She was granted 3 minutes or they would have to leave without her. She ran across the deck that was already slanted at a dangerous angle. She raced through the gambling room with all the money that had rolled to one side. She came to her stateroom & quickly pushed aside her diamond rings & expensive bracelets & necklaces as she reached to the shelf above her bed & grabbed 3 small oranges. She then retraced her steps back to the lifeboat & got in. 30 minutes earlier such a choice would have seemed incredible to her. Instantaneously priceless things had become worthless; worthless things had become priceless. Confronted with death her values were turned upside down & radically altered”Anon 

“Too much analysis can be paralysis. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and get moving” –  Gary K. Odle

Vision is the world’s most desperate need. There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly”  – Winifred Newman

                                 

 

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Leadership Factors

                                      

                               Rev. E. Anderson

GENEROSITY

Taken from John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible

Reading Ruth 2: 8 – 4: 10 

Introduction

Leaders must be generous, predisposed to give their resources to others. They believe a loses nothing when it lights another.

No one models this better than Boaz, the spiritual leader who became Ruth’s husband. He owned a large field, and like other landowners, employed reapers to gather his harvest. When the reapers finished, the less fortunate were allowed to ‘glean’ in the field, taking whatever remained of the harvested crops. Ruth was such a person.

Boaz’s generous spirit surfaced immediately when he saw Ruth. He asked the reapers about her identity, then expressed his generosity to her. Boaz displayed his generous leadership in several ways.

1/. HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS COMPASSION – 2:8,9

 

He told Ruth not to glean anywhere else; she could get all she needed from him.

2/. HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS COMPLIMENTS – 2: 11, 12

He noticed her sacrifice and complimented her efforts.

3/. HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS COURTESY – 2: 14

He invited her to join his staff for a meal, kindly serving her all she wanted.

4/. HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS CROPS – 2: 15, 16

He told his reapers to put extra bundles of grain for her to find.

5/.  HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS CREDIBILITY – 3: 11, 13

He showed respect by doing what was right by her request

6/. HE WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS COMMITMENT – 4: 9, 10

He committed himself to ensuring that Ruth’s former husband had offspring to carry on his name.

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Leaders who fail to display generosity should ask themselves, Do I really love the people I lead? When great leaders err, they always err on the side of generosity. If they err in paying salaries, they err in paying too much. If they err in firing a staff member, they err on the side of excessive emotional support, severance package, and affirmation. No leader gets ahead by mimicking Ebenezer Scrooge.

Jesus talked about this generous spirit when He said: “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic; let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” – Matthew 5: 40, 41.

A generous spirit drove Boaz to go the second mile with Ruth, even before he suspected she might become his wife. (He assumed she would be attracted to a younger man, Ruth 3: 10).Even so, Boaz   gave her extra time, attention, grain, respect, favour, and honour.

How about you? Who would describe your leadership as generous?

                               

Focus

                                         

                                Rev. E. Anderson

LEAP OF FAITH

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD;  trust in Him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noon- day sun. Psalm 37:4-6

A life following Jesus is full of paradoxes: We lose to win, give up to get, and sow to reap. It takes a supernatural act of faith energized by the Holy Spirit to accept that a full surrender of our lives body, mind, will, emotions, and spirit- will result in a deep abiding joy, and sense of purpose in this life and an eternity with the Lord. That is too big a leap for man to make alone.

But this is not the only leap that we will make in our walk with Jesus. Beyond our salvation is our vocation – the thing that He made us to do in life. Here again, is another paradox. In order for us to fully discover that thing that will be most fulfilling in our lives, we have to do nothing more or less than delight ourselves in Him. When our satisfaction and fulfillment come from Him, when we are listening to and following His voice, when we are surrendered fully to His will, then He will bring to pass the deep longings in our hearts. He will unleash the pure motives that He hard-wired inside of us from the day we were born. We will and ourselves thinking, I was made to do this.

How do you delight yourself in the Lord? Many ways. One example is to allow every desire and longing of your heart to be wrapped up in Jesus, not in your career, your hobbies, or even your family. When He becomes the end and not the means, you are really in a position for Him to use you. This is not easy, but He is loving and just and faithful to complete the work that He began in you.

Are you ready to delight yourself in the Lord? The good news is that regardless of your current season of life, it is never too late to begin. He is a God Who can redeem the time no matter how much you have left.

                              

Illustrations that Light up Life

                                       

                              Rev. E. Anderson

SMALL BEGINNINGS

Every oak tree started as an acorns Tom Monaghan started Domino’s Pizza in 1960 with one little shop. He struggled for eight years. When his shop burned to the ground, the insurance company paid him only one cent on the dollar o cover his losses. All he knew was pizza, so he started another shop. He worked 100 hours a week. Up to this point he had only taken one week-long holiday-for his honeymoon.

By 1971 he was $l.million in debt. But he stayed in his field, which was the pizza business, and tried something new. He limited his menu to pizza only, and decided to deliver it hot and fresh to customers at no extra charge. It worked. By 2007, Domino’s Pizza had grown to 6,100 stores across the United States and other countries.

Today he’s one of the richest men in the nation, and he gives most of his profits to charity. What was his secret? He started where he was. He fought forwent he believed to be his God-given purpose. And when he got knocked down he got back up.

                              

Messages of Note

                                    

                              Rev. Grayson Jones

The world and the Church are crying out for leaders says Grayson Jones in the second of an occasional series in which he outlines the key areas where great leaders must excel 

DON’T TALK THE TALK, WALK THE WALK

One of the challenges of leadership is not that we obtain and keep our position but that, through the power of influence in our lives, we actually lead people.

Very often in the church of Jesus there have been people who were called leaders and who have had the badge of leadership, yet have simply failed to lead.

Today, more than ever, our world and the church are crying out for leaders who lead. So what is the role of leaders? Here are a few key areas:

EQUIPPING 

Within the church there are a multitude of different people with all kinds of incredible gifts and ministries. The church is not short of gifting, but open it just needs leadership to draw those gifts out in the right way.

If you are a leader, one of your primary roles is not just to do, but equip others to do. We need to use every opportunity and means at our disposal to equip others around us!

EMPOWERING

People feel empowered when they feel accepted, loved and valued. It is important that as leaders we empower people through encouragement, affirmation and support. 

The church needs to become one big cheerleader squad, if you like, where whenever someone dares to have a go for God we all stand and cheer. And not just cheering the successes that take place, but the fact that someone is willing to step up to the plate and try!

ENVISIONING

Leaders should be people who are not just doing things out of duty, but as a result of f vision. Part of a leader’s role is allowing the vision of God within them to flow out to others so that they can then catch the vision themselves.

Vision is not just taught, but caught. Leaders must be passionate about serving the vision of the house, and so contagious that others catch it from us.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Leaders are responsible for the environment of the church. As someone has rightly said, ‘leaders are cultural architects. lf we don’t set the culture of the house as leaders, then other people will soon rise up and set the culture.

How we are as leaders will dictate what becomes the acceptable norm in the church. Our role is to make sure the church’s environment is a reflection of the heart of God and a demonstration of kingdom life in every area.

ENTHUSING

Leaders should be the most enthusiastic people in the church. John Maxwell says ‘everything rises and falls on leadership’.  lf that is true, which I believe it is, then the enthusiasm of a church is down to the enthusiasm of its leaders.

If you are a leader then you need to be passionate and enthusiastic about what you do and where you go. Don’t let anything kill your joy and enthusiasm for the wonderful privilege of serving God as a leader in his church.

It is important we all recognise that leadership is influence and not position. Therefore don’t wait until you are given a leadership position before you begin to exhibit these keys. Begin to do it now, and in no time at all you will be moved into a position as a leader!

                              

Sermon Starters

                                      

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

This is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction, main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit and inspiration.

WHEN GOD DOESN’T DO WHAT WE WANT

Taken from the Word for Today 

Max Lucado says, ‘When God doesn’t do what we want it’s not easy; it never has been, and it never will be. Faith is the condition that God knows more than us… and he’ll get us through. Disappointment is caused by unmet expectations… and it’s cured by revamped expectations… Don’t panic… don’t give up . . . be patient… God’s in control. It ain’t over until it’s over. So, when you’re disappointed:

1/.  LOOK INWARD:  David asked, Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?…’ – Psalm 42:5 NLT. Admit how you feel. You can’t deal with what you don’t acknowledge. Ask God to show you the root of the problem. Is it pent-up anger? Envy? Unforgiveness? Pride? Lust? Physical and mental fatigue? Be open to what He reveals.

2/. LOOK UPWARD: David said, ‘…1 will… hope in God! I will praise him…’ – v. 5. Instead of focusing on your discouragement, focus on the One who knows the way out.

3/. REMEMBER GODS PAST FAITHFULNESS: David said, ‘I am… discouraged, but I will remember you’. Through every trial Joseph clung to the assurance that God still controlled his destiny. Recalling God’s faithfulness builds your confidence that He’ll continue to provide.

4/.  REMEMBER YOU DON’T HAVE TO UNDERSTAND: Just because: you can’t f igure out what God’s doing right now, doesn’t mean it won’t make sense later. He ‘…causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him…’ – Romans 8:28 NAS).

5/. DON’T GIVE IN TO BITTERNESS: When your hopes are dashed resentment can set in. ‘…If God is for us, who can be against us’ – Romans 8:31 NKIV.

Regardless of how deep the pit may seem, God is on your side!

                                 

Dave’s Snippets

                                         

                                      Dr. David Allen

THE   ROYAL WEDDING

The announcement of the imminent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton has given the media something happy to report amidst the gloom of tension between North and South Korea, the prospect of more austerity and, very recently, the tragic death of the coal-miners in the South Island of New Zealand. This latest news is doubly sad following not too long after   the amazing rescue of the Chilean miners.

Winter, to most people, is not a cheering prospect and so many of us would like to fall asleep, like Rip  Van Winkle, and wake up to the song of the cuckoo. Having said all that, we should remind ourselves that the Gospel is Good News to all men, and committed Christians are looking forward to an even more splendid wedding than the one planned for Westminster Abbey on April 29th.

The Gospels are full of marriage metaphors and stories. Jesus tells of a king who has invited many to the wedding of his son. However, when the guests are beginning to arrive, one of them is discovered not wearing suitable clothing. In those times a marriage-garment was   usually supplied at the expense of the host, so his negligence is churlish and, indeed, an insult to the host and the family. The upshot is that the negligent guest is shown the door by the   ushers. And woe betide anyone who presumes to enter God’s Kingdom without a suitable   response to the divine invitation! 

Parables are not always clear as to their meaning, but this one certainly is: the Gospel    invitation is to all men but our RSVP  is needed  to  be made to God in the form of receiving  Jesus as our personal Saviour. A positive response to the invitation means that we duly    receive a resplendent marriage-garment and look forward to the coming Wedding Feast of the   Lamb.  Few will be in the Abbey on that day and at the banquet to follow, but even that will be totally eclipsed by glorious events in Heaven! 

                                

Message from David Wilkerson

                                     

                           Rev. David Wilkerson

VICTORY THROUGH CHRIST

The glory of God and the worthiness of his Son are involved in his dealings with us. Hence everything that could possibly stand in the way of our eternal blessedness has been disposed of in such a manner as to secure the divine glory and furnish a triumphant answer to every plea of the enemy.

Is it a question of trespass? He has forgiven us all trespasses.
Is it a question of sin? He has condemned sin at the cross, and thus put it away.
Is it a question of guilt? It is cancelled by the blood of the cross.
Is it a question of death? He has taken away its sting and actually made it part of our property.
Is it a question of Satan? He has destroyed him by annulling all his power.
Is it a question of the world? He has delivered us from it and snapped every link which connected us with it.

Thus, beloved Christian reader, it stands with us if we are to be taught by Scripture, if we are to take God at his word, if we are to believe what he says—and we may add, if it be not thus, we are in our sins, under the power of sin, in the grasp of Satan, obnoxious to death, part and parcel of an evil, Christless, godless world and exposed to the unmitigated wrath of God—the vengeance of eternal fire.

Oh that the blessed Spirit may open the eyes of God’s people and give them to see their proper place, their full and eternal deliverance in association with Christ who died for them, and in whom they have died, and thus passed out of the power of all their enemies!

                                  

News and Views

                                       

                                     Georgia Henley

NARNIA STAR’S PLEA FOR HAITI CHILDREN

A HOLLYWOOD star is getting behind a Christian charity’s appeal to send Christmas Gifts to children hit by the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The Chronicles of Narnia actress, Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy in the new film, The Voyage Of T he Dawn Treader, is encouraging fans to take part in a shoebox appeal as part of a special video clip featured on the Operation Christmas Child website.

Over 15,000 youngsters affected by the devastating earthquake in January will be sent a shoebox full of gifts from children in the UK as part of Operation Christmas Child – the UK’s largest annual shoe-box appeal.

The Chistmas appeal is being organized by Samaritan’s Purse, a global relief and development charity that has orchestrated a massive response to the disaster in Haiti. So far they have provided more than 10,000 temporary shelters for families in Port-au-Prince, treated over 10, 300 patients at clinics in Cite Soliel, and feed about 30,ö00 people each day.

Simon Barrington, Executive director of Samaritan’s Purse UK, said: Haiti has ‘been a big part of our response to Jesus call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked this year.

“Because of the generosity of so many churches and churchgoers here in the UK, we have been able not just to meet the immediate need of Haitians, but also help them get back on their feet and look to a future filled with hope”.

The charity is calling on people in the UK to get behind the drive to provide 15,000 shoeboxes for children in Haiti.

High street outlets Shoezone and The Entertainer are also encouraging their customers to send shoeboxes to Haiti along with other destinations.

Last year, more than 400,000 children and adults wrapped, packed and sent 1.2 million shoeboxes to children across Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

Simon said: “It’s our 20th year of sending shoeboxes to children in need overseas, and what better way to celebrate than to send gifts to children  in Haiti at Christmas. These children need our prayers and they certainly deserve our generosity at this special time of year”.

Since 1990, when the project first started in Wrexham, North Wales, and saw 3,000 boxes sent to children in Romania, Operation Christmas Child has grown to become the largest children’s Christmas appeal, with over 81 million shoeboxes already having been given out to children across the world.

Please consider making a box for a needy child this Christmas,” says Georgie. “It’s easy, and its fun”.

To get involved, visit www.operationchristmas child.org.uk

                                  

Bible Studies by Rev A. Hocking

                                    

                                   Rev. A. Hocking

THE SECRET OF VICTORIOUS LIVING – Part 3

Read Matthew 5: 1-8  Compare Luke 6: 17-49

The Multitudes came to hear Him. Some commentators think that it is quite possible that Jesus preached this on other occasions – for example such as Luke records, and this would account for the slight differences between Matthew and Luke’s accounts.  However, did you ever know anyone to give exactly the same account of a sermon? Matthew and Luke could have heard the same sermon that Jesus preached, and their accounts tally so much that they do in fact confirm the validity of their reports.

His disciples came to hear Him.  I suppose we could separate the crowd into three groups:  His disciples, in other words, those who were his close followers.  Then there would be the crowd. Those who followed, wanting to be part of what’s going on, but not really committed. Lastly, there would be those on the edge of the crowd who were curious, but didn’t want to get involved.

Of course this is a good illustration of the Church. There are always these three groupings in any Church.  I remember going to one church to pastor.  On a Sunday night there would be over 100 in the services.  On Sunday morning there would be perhaps 50 or 60.  At the prayer meeting and Bible study, we would have maybe 15 or 20. These latter were those who were committed to the Church. They wanted to see things happen and the Church to grow.  The ‘crowd’ would come on Sunday morning. They liked to ‘break bread’ and be part of the bigger picture, but not to be really committed.  Then on Sunday night there were a lot of ‘hangers on’. Some came because they thought it was a nice lively service, better than the church down the road. Others because it was – well, the thing to do.  As I began to preach salvation and invite people to come forward to commit their lives to Jesus, many of these ‘hangers on’ left, complaining that I ‘expected too much of them’.

Those who were sitting near Jesus were His disciples – literally learners.   He is the great teacher.  We are all learners – or should be.  As we walk with Him, He will lead us into the truth.  He told His disciples that He was going away, but would leave them the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth. As we read His Word, His Spirit will open it to us and reveal hidden depths.  However, we need to be careful where we go for guidance and teaching.  I have had people come to me with some bizarre ideas that they claim ‘God has shown me’.  Usually I’m afraid, these people seem to be ‘unteachable’ and when you point out the error of their so called revelation, they take offence and go off to start their own church, or join some other bunch of deluded folk.

In 2 Tim 3;7  & 4;3 Paul warns Timothy of those who will look for teachers to ‘tickle their fancy..’  I have met many of these!  Someone once said, “beware of the teacher who tells you what you want to hear. Listen to the one who doesn’t!”  Good advice indeed.  I become more certain that we are living in ‘the last days’ the more I hear some of the weird and wonderful ‘doctrines’ that are being preached these days.  I recall on one occasion one of my church members who had been listening to a certain teacher, coming to me and telling me that the way to cast demons out was to anoint the person with communion wine! When I pointed out that this was hardly scriptural, she claimed it was a ‘new revelation’. There seem to be many such around these days – beware!  Be like the Bereans who we are told checked everything they were taught against the Word of God.

This ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is intensely practical.  Jesus was the Master preacher.  It is full of local illustrations that His listeners would be familiar with. He talked of salt, light, sheep, buildings, rain, even specks of dust!

So here is a word of advice for preachers – make your preaching relevant to your audience.  I remember when I was producing programmes for missionary radio stations such as FEBA and Transworld Radio, being told to be careful what illustrations we used.  For example, one speaker had quoted the Scripture “you will be as white as wool”.  They pointed out that in one country they were broadcasting to, the folk had never seen white wool – all their sheep were black!   Jesus kept his illustrations simple.

We start where you’d least expect us to.

“BLESSED ARE The Poor in Spirit”; Luke just says ‘Poor’.

When Jesus started out on His ministry, he quoted from Isa 61;1 ”The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (NKJ) . Later on, when John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He really was the Messiah, Jesus told them to go and tell John (Matt 11:5) “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are  raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (NKJ)

It seems the poor always had a special place in Jesus’ heart.  Someone has noted that the poor are more likely to get saved than the rich.  Jesus confirmed this in Lu 18;24; “And when Jesus saw that He became very sorrowful. He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the  kingdom of God! (NKJ)

I am using Matthew’s version in this instance; “Poor in spirit”.  In other words, humility.   God hates the proud!   (Isa 57;15 For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (NKJ)   I believe this is because pride was one of the major causes of satan’s downfall.  He lifted himself up, saying he was going to be god, and because of this was thrown out of Heaven.  His temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was based on Pride.  He told them God was holding something back, and that they could be like God if they ate the forbidden fruit.

All through the Bible we find God looking for and using the ‘humble’, the ‘nobodies’.

We think of Moses, who when told he was to deliver Israel out of Pharoah’s hands was conscious of his inadequacy.  I can imagine the conversation as Moses had a stammer; “Who, mmmmme?  I cccccan’t gggo and sssstand before FFFFFFaroah”.  But as I have found in my own life, God doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

Remember Gideon?  What a wonderful picture.  There he is, threshing wheat in a winepress for fear of the Mideanites.   Now a winepress was basically a big room where they could squash the grapes.  There were no windows or ventilation as such.  If you have ever seen wheat being threshed you will know that there is a lot of dust and stuff flying all over the place.  The idea being that you knock the stuffing out of the wheat and the wind blows the chaff away.   In the winepress there is no wind.  He must have been almost choking to death in there.  The angel tells him he is a mighty man of valour!  “Who me? There must be some mistake. I belong to the lowest tribe and the lowest family in the tribe”.  But no, God had chosen him.

One last illustration; David.  The shepherd boy.  Even his father didn’t rate him and had to be prompted by Samuel – haven’t you got another son?  “er, well, there’s David, but you don’t want him!” David was anointed king of Israel and promptly went back to looking after the sheep!

Jesus often told stories against the proud, for example telling his listeners, “when you go to a feast – sit at the bottom table”.   Paul, in one of my favourite passages of Scripture puts it wonderfully; (I Cor 1;26-29) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence.

So what about these ‘Poor in Spirit’?  Well, Jesus said, “theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”.   Why?  Because the unteachable, the proud, the one who refuses to come under authority will always have problems – and be a problem!  Even Jesus was ‘humble’ and didn’t vaunt Himself, although He had every right to do so:  John 14;10 ”The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (NKJ)  Think how much time He spent in prayer, and realise His poverty of Spirit and reliance upon God – THINK ABOUT IT!  Everything He did and said was a direct command from His Father. If we are going to live a ‘Real’ Christian life, we need to follow His example and follow His commands.

The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is all about KINGDOM LIVING.   It is time to stop playing at it.  We are at war.  And right now we are involved in the final chapter of that war.

We shall see that what Jesus is talking about is the serious business of Xtn living.  We may have magnificent doctrines but if we don’t pay our debts…

We can have Incredible conceptions of Deity , but if we refuse to forgive our enemies….  We may be Orthodox to the hilt but if we don’t feed the hungry or clothe the naked…..  we haven’t even begun to live the Christian life!

Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom of God.  He often said, “its like….” Here, He starts off by saying if you’re not poor in spirit, you’ll never see it, but if you are – it’s yours now.  “Theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven”.  Heaven is not something we look forward to in the dim and distant (we hope!) future.  It is something we can start enjoying now.  And as we go through this wonderful ‘Sermon on the Mount’ hopefully we will begin to experience something of Heaven here and now.

Jesus goes on to say something that has puzzled people for centuries.

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN for they shall be comforted.

I am worried by some preachers who seem to indicate that all you have to do is ‘come to Jesus’ and everything will be wonderful.  We do not often hear repentance preached these days.  Yet repentance is vital to salvation.  Paul wrote:  (2 Cor. 7;10) For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (NKJ)  This is why the world does not understand these ‘Beatitudes’. “If you are mourning”, they say, “how can you be blessed?”  We have all heard of people who are so sad over something that has happened in their lives that they become a recluse or even commit suicide.  As Paul said, “The sorrow of the world produces death”.  But ‘godly sorrow’ is something quite different.

The real Christian mourns that he still sins. There has to be sadness over our sin before we can really enjoy our salvation. There has to be a continuing sadness over our failure to be what we know we should and could be in Christ.  As Paul put it (Romans 7:24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (NKJ)  He was only too conscious that in spite of his achievements and the way God had used him, he was still falling short of his target to be like Christ.  The picture he uses comes from the Romans’ way of stopping prisoners of war escaping.  They would bind a dead body to them so that they had to carry the dead body around with them.  Paul pictures himself still bound to his old life with its sin and bad habits that thwarts his efforts to live a Christ-like life.  I’m sure most of us will agree that we too find our old lives still popping up and hindering us in our new life in Christ.  But thank God, as Paul remarks – through Jesus we have the victory over our old lives.

If you treat sin lightly, your salvation will be lightweight too.  I wonder how often we say things like, It’s only a little white lie”.. or “it’s only 2p change”..

If you say ONLY…. then you haven’t really comprehended the depth of mourning over sin.  Just recently a friend of mine confessed to being convicted over reusing postage stamps that hadn’t been franked.  Of course you are going to say “well, doesn’t everyone?” That isn’t the point. It suddenly dawned on him that in fact he was stealing from the Post Office. God’s Word says, “Don’t steal” and whether it is 2p change, unfranked stamps or the odd pen taken home from the office, it still comes down to stealing!

Naturally, normal people hate being dirty.  After a stint in the garden, for example, we want to come in and wash.  Coming home from a dirty job, the first thought is to get in the shower.  To the Christian, sin is dirt. We need to keep clean. Sure, as John wrote; 1 John 1;7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin, (NKJ) but how much better not to get ‘dirty’ in the first place?  Blessed are they that mourn over their sin.  Why?  Because they will be comforted.

What does that mean? We are comforted; encouraged, drawn near…  As we realise what sin is, and how it took Christ to the cross, we mourn that we should be the reason why He died there.  But we will be comforted as Christ brings pardon and peace in the knowledge that our sin is pardoned, and we have peace with God.  In the words of Rom 8;1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Sorrow for sin comes before the joy of salvation.  A wrong concept of sin, and no sorrow for it, will bring a shallow concept of joy in Salvation. Conviction must come before Conversion.  I am reminded of the stories of past revivals when hardened sinners came forward and wept their way to salvation. Drunkards, wife beaters, cruel men were moved on by the Holy Ghost and broke down as the enormity of their sin dawned upon them and they were gloriously converted. Jesus said of the woman who came and anointed his feet with oil “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.”  If you find that you are really upset by the things that are wrong in your life, then start to rejoice!  You are in the right place.  Forgiveness is there for the asking. The comfort of knowing that your sins are forgiven brings a peace that nothing can compare with. To mourn over sin, means there is hope, and eventually ‘comfort’ and joy.

Our next Beatitude is possibly one that has been the most misunderstood by the world.

BLESSED ARE THE MEEK for they shall inherit the earth.

The world usually associates Meekness with being weak. How wrong can you be?  Moses was meek, so the Bible tells us, but he was also strong!

The word is variously translated ‘meek’, ‘humble’, and ‘gentle’.  One commentator suggests that the old fashioned word ‘gentleman’ sums it up.  Those who don’t think too much of themselves, respect others, and are not overbearing.   The meek person is not easily moved by little insults:  not easily ruffled.  But it is not just a natural meekness; there is a spiritual quality about it. It is the opposite of pride, and again we think of satan who was lifted up with pride and thought he would make a take over bid from God.

SHALL INHERIT EARTH (or perhaps more literally, LAND).  This was a Jewish phrase which meant to receive all God has for you… all the blessings of the Kingdom. It came originally from God’s promise to Abraham to give him the land of Canaan and gradually evolved to mean all God’s blessings.

So again, it follows on from the Poor in Spirit – the one who is sorry for his sin, to now the one who doesn’t lift himself up.  Rather like the man in the parable Jesus told who went into the Temple and not even able to lift his eyes towards Heaven, cried “God be merciful to me a sinner”.  Jesus said this man went home justified.  He really sums up the first two beatitudes.  He was penitent and humble, rather than the other man who had rather a high opinion of himself.

The third Beatitude follows naturally after the first two.

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HUNGER & THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS… THEY WILL BE FILLED.

To Hunger and Thirst means to really want something.  So here Jesus says we are to really want to be righteous.  Commentator J.N. Darby wrote; “To be hungry is not enough, I must be really starving to know what is in His heart towards me….. When the prodigal son was hungry, he fed on the husks, when he was starving, he turned to his father.”

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. Not blessedness. Not happiness for its own sake, not blessed experiences. But to really want to be righteous, just as Christ was. There was a hymn we used to sing; ‘Oh to be like Thee, blessed redeemer.’  Yes, we receive Christ’s righteousness imputed to us when we are saved, but it is not just a matter of imputed righteousness, but a real desire to be right ourselves, to do what is Right. There was another song; ‘As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You’.   The man or woman who has truly found Christ as saviour yearns to be like Him.  They want to be in a place where sin no longer trips them up.  They rejoice that they stand before Him cleansed and holy in His sight, but long to be free of the temptations that daily beset them.

Paul wrote to the Roman church, (Rom 14;17) “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. (NKJ).   This illustrates the big difference between the world and the church. The world’s attitude is as Paul quoted; – 1Cor 15;31, “If the dead are not raised, ”Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The world’s attitude is that there is no reckoning to come, so let’s just enjoy life.  The World is unrighteous, we live in unrighteous days. Cheating, fraud, theft, murder are commonplace.  We truly are living in the last days, when, as Paul wrote to Timothy, (2 Tim 3;1-5) “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power”.

The difference between the world and the real church, those who are truly born again will become more and more evident as time goes by.  The real Christian is yearning, longing to be more like Christ. He recognises that the time is short and that soon he will be standing before the saviour he loves, and he wants to be like Him.  The Church is likened to a bride, and just as the bride decks herself out to be as beautiful as she can for her husband, so the Christian longs to be pure and holy so that he can stand before his Saviour and hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord”.

                              

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