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7:33 AM   [29 Dec 2013 | Sunday]

Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (KJV).

Peacemakers carry the peace of God wherever they go.  As a result, when they enter into a room, peace fills it.  Mediation is a byproduct of God’s peace residing in individuals.  Romans 8:14 tells us, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (KJV).  Part of the Fruit of the Spirit is peace (see Galatians 5:22-23); therefore, the children of God bring peace with them.  Through wisdom, peacemakers sow in peace and reap righteousness, as God considers peace to be a righteous thing.  That means that a person must love righteousness in order to be a peacemaker as well.  Those who despise righteousness and love debate do not qualify (see James 3:14-16).  James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (KJV).

Those led by the Spirit love peace, and love to make the environment around them peaceful.  They love to extend peace to others, which means they desire to reconcile others unto God.  They know until people are at peace with Him, they will never have true peace.  Without it, they will not be at peace with themselves, nor find it easy to be at peace with others.  Peacemakers understand the value of forgiveness and its link to lasting peace.  They are great encouragers of people exercising forgiveness towards others and themselves.  Through forgiveness, reconciliation is possible, as well as lasting peace between individuals.

Peacemakers do not avoid fear; they run over it.  Running away from an anxious environment does not bring change to it.  Nor does avoidance mean you are at a place of peace.  In order to change the environment, a person has to engage it.  For example, if I avoid a place filled with hostility, it will still be there, even if I do not witness it first hand.  Hiding from people who make you nervous does not bring inner peace.  Finding out why they make you nervous and dealing with it in a godly manner will lead to it.  In some cases, it is a question of forgiveness, in others; there may be wounds that need healing.  Whatever the cause, a person has to come to a point where God’s peace rules in his heart (see Colossians 3:15).  As they learn to come to terms with their own issues, they help others resolve theirs, thereby leading them to peace as well.

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www.perfectfaith.org

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4:44 AM   [22 Dec 2013 | Sunday]

The Pure In Heart

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (KJV).  The word, “pure,” means clean (literally and figuratively).  In the natural sense, it means unsoiled or not mixed with other materials.  It also means clean in that something is lawful or not forbidden (i.e., something is lawful to be eaten or used).  It involves being cleansed legally or ceremonially.  In the spiritual sense, it means to be clean from the pollution and guilt of sin, and points to being sincere, upright and void of evil in relation to our opening Scripture.  It leads to the pureness in the sense of being holy.  “See,” means more than the act of seeing, but it implies having the actual perception of what is seen.  In relation to this verse, it also means to be admitted into God’s presence, and enjoying His fellowship and extraordinary kindness.

The pure in heart believe.  Belief is a starting point to living a consecrated life unto God.  “Believe” is the verb form of “faith,” and without faith it is impossible to please God.  A pure heart believes God is and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (see Hebrews 11:6).  Without belief, a heart will not be pure because it cannot receive the righteousness of God by grace, which is in Christ Jesus.  Grace does not work without faith.  If a person does not believe, he will not call on the Name of Jesus and be saved.  He simply will not seek God.

The rebellious use unbelief as a cloak to cover their rebellion.  Since they do not want to be held accountable for their unrighteousness, they choose not to believe that God exists.  They hate the Light because it exposes and reproves their evil deeds (see John 3:18-21).  They do not want to face the Judge of all people, so they rather not believe.  However, a day will come when they will believe.  Indeed, many will be forced to believe and bow before His Majesty, as no one can stand in His presence and not bow.

Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled (KJV).  Since the word, “pure” points to being ceremonially clean, it also means that without belief one’s heart will remain defiled or contaminated.  There is a clear connection between an evil heart and unbelief found in Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God (KJV).  It is written, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)? Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man (KJV).  Change is necessary, therefore the old man had to die in order to receive a new heart.  When we were baptized into Jesus, His death became our death (see Romans 6:3-11).  Likewise, His resurrection became our resurrection.  When the old man died the old heart stopped beating.  Ephesians 4:21-24 If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man (previous manner of life found in the old nature), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (KJV).  With the new man came a new heart, which is soft and tender toward God (see Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26-27).  It is pure in God’s sight.

The pure in heart believe God and are ready to respond to Him out of love.  A pure heart loves at all times.  One way people can know if they are pure in heart is by their love.  If you love God and people, your heart is clean.  If you love darkness and place your affections on the things of the world, it is time for a transplant.  The pure in heart walk with joy, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-24).  Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15 (KJV), and He commanded that we love one another.  He further said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11, KJV).  1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (KJV).  The pure in heart embrace God’s commandments and find them to be a joy.  Those with defiled hearts will never know real joy and what is to be blessed.  No matter how much they succeed in filling their lives with the things of this world, they will never be happy.  Only the pure in heart are able to be blessed and happy in the truest sense.

    www.perfectfaith.org

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3:20 AM   [15 Dec 2013 | Sunday]

Are You Truly Merciful?

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (KJV).

Without mercy, it would be impossible to fully benefit from the blessings of God.  Apart from it, people will fail to enjoy life to the fullest.  Mercy and peace are linked together in Scripture, which also reveals that in order to have peace we also need to be merciful.  Frankly, without it, one could never truly be happy.  By definition, mercy means compassion or active pity.  Therefore, to be merciful means to be compassionate as an attribute of one’s character.  That means when a person does an act of mercy, it is not a mere act.  Rather, it is the result of what is in the heart.  Because a person is merciful, he will extend mercy.  The motive behind compassion is not self-serving; it is outward focused.  Meaning, we do not extend mercy in order to get mercy.  Because love motivates us, we desire others to receive it.  Extending mercy out fear of judgment is not love nor is it faith.  Because God is merciful, we should be merciful.

Love destroys an enemy through mercy.  Think about this: we were once enemies of God.  He could have destroyed us through judgment.  We could be swimming in the lake of fire instead of partaking in His wonderful River of Life.  True justice requires judgment for sin; nevertheless, without mercy, true justice could not be carried out.  Because of God’s mercy, He exacted judgment on the Son, so we would not have to receive the punishment we deserve. Titus 3:3-6 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (KJV).  Justice was served, yet mercy prevailed in love.  Mercy withholds punishment, even when punishment would be just.

Compassion desires to relieve those afflicted by sin.  Self-righteousness could care less if people are suffering as the result of their sin; in fact, it takes glee in their suffering.  The self-righteous forget that they were once sinners, subject to the judgment, and suffered as the result of their sin.  The compassionate remember their own pain; therefore, they will not judge others for theirs.  They have grown to hate the phrase, “They deserve what they get.”  They embrace James 2:13 where it says, “Mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (KJV).  God’s soul grieves for those who suffer, even as the result of sin (see Judges 10:13-16).  If God gave you a new heart, your heart will be compassionate for the lost.  It will desire to see them saved from the coming Judgment.  God is Love, and mercy is Love in action as He likewise extended meekness and forgiveness.  He restrained judgment in order to forgive us.  Do you refrain from judging others and extend forgiveness?

When people fail to extend mercy, they place themselves in an awkward position with God.  In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, a servant failed to extend mercy to another servant after receiving mercy.  Jesus tells us, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:32-35, KJV).  If we receive forgiveness, we should also forgive others.  Here is another passage of Scripture to consider: “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13, KJV).  When people fail to be compassionate, they stop the favor of God from operating in our lives.  However, when they let mercy flow, it is amazing how much mercy they receive in their lives.  For example, how many of us have made a mistake that should have cost us our job, yet we still have it?  How many have had near misses in life that could have been catastrophic, if God had not intervened on our behalf?  There are innumerable examples of God’s mercy at work in our lives.  Remember, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:7-9, KJV).

Mercy seeks to relieve those in distress through acts of kindness.  It extends the cold cup of water to the thirsty.  It heals the broken hearted and extends peace to the distraught.  Mercy pleads the case of the defenseless.  It forgives and forgets. It connects with God’s grace in order to empower the believer to show loving kindness to “the unlovable.”

www.perfectfaith.org

 

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9:59 AM   [08 Dec 2013 | Sunday]

Pure Desire

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (KJV).  To hunger for righteousness means to crave righteousness.  A hunger that is specific in nature.  It goes beyond being merely hungry for something, and it becomes something that must be fulfilled in order to survive.  Spiritually speaking, without righteousness, we cannot survive.  To thirst means to have an ardent desire.  It means passion.  It is that thirst which can only be quenched by the living water of God, which is filled with righteousness.  It is similar to being so dehydrated that a person edges on insanity if he does not get water soon.  This is one passionate desire that Jesus said is a blessing to have and one that may be eternally fulfilled.  Because we are made in the image of God, our desires should be for things that reflect His nature.

When righteousness is fulfilled in our lives, our lives come into order.  Righteousness opens the doors of blessing, as it puts us in right standing with God.  Jesus said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? . . . But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25-33, KJV).  When we are righteous before God, we are also qualified for His Kingdom. It is not enough to just have a longing for righteousness; we need to seek it as well.  We can hunger and thirst all day long, but these alone do not fulfill the need.  We have to go to the Source of righteousness in order to receive it.  Just as being hungry for food does not in of itself feed us, we have to obtain it if our stomachs are going to be full.  What is this thing that we should yearn so much to have?

Righteousness refers to God’s uprightness or standard, and for us, it means conforming to that standard.  It is strictly honorable or honest, moral or ethical, principled, virtuous, noble, and incorruptible.  It means to be just, which is being equitable in character and action.  It is the quality of being fair and impartial.  If we are righteous, our actions will follow suit.  Meaning, what we do is the result of what we are; we are not what we do.  True righteousness and self-righteousness are diametrically opposed to each other.  That is why have receive it from the Source, instead doing things we think make us righteous.  It is one thing to do a “good thing”; it is quite another to do the right thing.  “Good works” do not make us righteous before God.  How can sinful people ever live up to a Standard that is far above their capacity?  Without God’s nature in us, we can never be righteous.

Hunger and thirst also point to the Bread and Wine, which are symbolic of the Body and Blood of Jesus found in the New Covenant. John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (KJV). John 6:47-55 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.  I am that Bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed (KJV).  1Corintians 11:23-26 brings us much clarity to this passage of Scripture: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My Blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.  For as often as ye eat this Bread, and Drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come” (KJV).

When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we hunger and thirst for Jesus.  Jesus is our righteousness; therefore, our righteousness is based on what He did and not what we do (see 2Corinthians 5:21).  Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (KJV).  As we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior by grace through faith, we also receive His righteous nature (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  If Jesus lives in us, we are indeed filled to overflowing.

www.perfectfaith.org    

 

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6:46 AM   [01 Dec 2013 | Sunday]

The Strength Of Meekness

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (KJV).

Is it weakness to be gentle?  Is it cowardly to turn the other cheek?  In truth, strength is found in walking humbly in meekness.  Without meekness, one will never inherit the territory God has for him.  We could never influence society for His Kingdom without it.  Meekness is strength that is restrained.  Other words for it are “mild,” “forbearance” or “gentleness.”  It means having a calm demeanor, which makes one approachable.   True meekness is strength under the control of the Holy Spirit.  That means if a person is going to correctly walk in it, he will have to humble himself before the Lord.  That means denying himself, picking up his cross and following Jesus (see Matthew 16:24).  Speaking of Jesus, if He was not meek we would never know the Father.  When reading Revelation, we find that in the Second Coming He will return with power and He will not be holding back judgment when He does.  Meekness kept us from being judged before the appointed time, as well as facing the second death (see Revelation 20:1-15).  Jesus could have displayed His power in vengeance.  He could have had angels fight for Him before the Crucifixion (see Matthew 21:1-5; 26:47-57; John 18:1-12).  In fact, if He did not willingly lay His life down in meekness, there never would have been the Cross of Christ and we would still be lost in our sins.  There would have been no acceptable Sacrifice given to God in our stead.  In essence, His meekness gave us strength.

If we are going to be approachable, we will have to maintain a spirit of meekness.  Being self-righteous is not exactly meekness and humility in action.  It would be difficult at best to share the Gospel if one were to take such a posture.  How many of us like discussions with arrogant people?  Self-righteousness is religious arrogance and it teaches a different gospel (see Galatians 1:6-9).  Think about this, we are able to approach God because He is meek.  The Father is very gentle with us even when He disciplines us.  In fact, discipline is meekness in action.  Without it, it would be punishment.  God never corrects His children out of anger.  Anger does not control Him, nor does it speak for Him.  The Father restrains His anger for our benefit.  If we are going to represent God well, we need to keep this in mind when dealing with others, especially if you are a parent or have a place of influence in a child’s life.

Gentleness enables us to minister to and restore one another.  It does not harshly criticize people for failure.   Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (KJV).  Meekness does not condone sin; it combats sin.  In fact, it is ruthless when it comes to sin.  It seeks to destroy sin without destroying the person who has erred from the Truth.  It makes room for repentance, which is also an act of vengeance (see 2Corinthians 7:1-16).  While our goal is pleasing God and our motivation behind it is love, repentance infuriates the enemy of our souls.  He wants nothing more than to hurt the Father by destroying our lives.  When it gets down to it, meekness is a weapon in spiritual combat.

This virtue is difficult to maintain in our own strength.  Fortunately, it is part of the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-24), which means the Holy Spirit enables us to do what we could not do otherwise.  This explains those moments when we “kept our cool” when we would have normally exploded on someone.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to keep our composure under the most difficult circumstances.  By yielding to Him, we can maintain a posture of peace.  Through meekness, we are able to reconcile differences and maintain relationships.  It keeps doors open that would otherwise be shut in our faces.  All it takes is a willingness to humble ourselves before the Lord and allow His gentleness to flow through us.  If we do not insist on having our way, we will allow Him to have His.

www.perfectfaith.org

 

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