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Blessed (def.) – “describes a believer in enviable (‘fortunate’) position from receiving God's provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend (‘make long, large’) His grace (benefits). This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord's inbirthings of faith” (biblehub.com).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Pray for Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 5:1-12 (NASB).

Humble and Contrite (vv. 1-5)

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

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The poor in spirit are those who are humble (unassuming) before God, realizing they are completely without resources, totally lacking in ability to affect their own salvation. They know that they are sinners in need of the Savior, and that without Jesus Christ and his salvation that they are utterly hopeless, lost, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. They willingly submit to God, die with Jesus Christ to sin, allow the Spirit of God to transform them in heart and mind, and thus they are translated from death to life in the Spirit unto salvation and to eternal life with God in glory, putting on their new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23).

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

To mourn is to grieve, to lament, to feel guilt or sorrow, and/or to weep; to suffer distress; to express sorrow or regret. We read in 2 Co. 7:10: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” I believe that worldly sorrow, thus, is not a recipient of God’s comfort (encouragement), but only godly sorrow, or the sorrow of the godly who are going through trials and tribulations. Yet, Jesus did bring comfort (solace) to the ungodly through healing their diseases, and via raising the dead, etc., it would appear, and in this way he demonstrated to them God’s love and healing power, not just for physical healing, though, but for spiritual healing, as well.

When we think of comfort, we often think of someone giving us reassuring words, a pat on the back, a hug, or words which make us feel good inside. Yet, the Greek word translated as “comfort” in English means “to summon (to call upon), implore (appeal), exhort (urge strongly), admonish (reprove, warn), encourage (inspire or incite), and console (soothe). So, when God comforts us, it is not just to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, but he counsels, corrects, instructs, urges, warns, inspires, incites and soothes us, depending upon what we need at that time, in relation to what specifically we are going through. Often when I am feeling sad the Lord counsels me and shows me the way to peace and reassurance. So, when others are feeling sorrow, we need to be careful that we don’t reassure them or give them a pat on the back if what they need, instead, is correction or urging to change.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God's strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness. The English term ‘meek’ often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness (reserve) and strength” (biblehub.com).

Jesus Christ is the prime example of what this means. He had great strength of character spiritually, yet he was compassionate, merciful, and tenderhearted. He had no difficulty speaking strongly against wickedness, hypocrisy and injustice, when it was called for, and yet he demonstrated much self-control and reserve, often in difficult situations or when he was being persecuted severely. It is a wise person who knows how to gently balance gentleness with strength, exercising much self-control, thought, and care to his or her actions and words. It is these who will “inherit the earth.” To me, the greatest way in which this can be fulfilled is in effecting the salvation of souls from sin through our lives, our testimonies, and via our witness for Jesus Christ and for his gospel of salvation.

Thirst for Righteousness (vv. 6-9)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

To hunger and to thirst means to crave, desire, need, and to yearn (long) for passionately, eagerly and persistently. Righteousness “refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes” (biblehub.com). How many of us, if we are honest, can truly say that we crave eagerly and persistently what is approved in the eyes of God? Not one of us can truly be righteous outside of faith in Jesus Christ, though, for our own righteousness (goodness) is as filthy rags in God’s sight. We are only made righteous by God’s grace, through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins, and through our faith in him and in what he did for us in dying for our sins. That faith, though, is realized through repentance (turning from sin) and obedience (turning to follow God and his ways). In this way Christ’s righteousness is now credited to our accounts.

And, yet, righteousness is not merely possessive, but it is active in the life of the believer, i.e. it is to be lived out day by day. Scripture teaches that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. He died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for if we walk after the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return. So, we should yearn for passionately the righteousness of Christ to be lived out in our lives on a day-to-day basis.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Merciful is “acting consistently with the revelation of God's covenant,” is compassionate and “full of pity” (biblehub.com). In our day and time, this word is being twisted to mean something other than what God intended, though. It is being stressed these days by those who serve as messengers of the beast (of Satan) that mercy means being tolerant of all religions and all walks of life, accepting of sin, non-judgmental, and being willing to compromise faith and convictions of the Spirit in order to not offend others with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They would have you believe that the Christian faith and practice, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, is intolerant, hateful, bigoted, mean, judgmental, and fits into the category of “religious extremism” which they intend to obliterate. So, they are calling on people of all faiths to join together in unity in order to be merciful and to do away with “religious extremism,” i.e. what divides us as humans.

Yet, true mercy considers the real needs of people, and it cares more about others than it does about itself. It is willing to be misunderstood and even hated for the sake of the gospel, rather than compromise truth. It understands that making people feel better in this life may be sending them to hell for eternity, because we are more concerned over our own skin, i.e. what people think of us, than we care about the eternal destiny of the people of this world. True mercy tells people the truth. It does not lie to them or console them in their sin. It does not approve of what God calls sin, nor does it allow itself to be entertained by the sins of others via TV, movies, et al. And, it certainly does not validate false religion. If we want to be pure in heart, we need to be untainted, unstained by the world around us. We are commanded in scripture to be holy. Holy means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we are becoming like Jesus, transformed into his likeness.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

People often confuse the terms “peacemaking” and “peacekeeping.” They are not one and the same. A peacekeeper is one who tries to keep peace – absence of conflict - at all costs, including the compromise of principle, truth, integrity, personal health and well-being, sanity, true conflict resolution, and sincerity (genuineness) in order to avoid conflict of any kind. This helps no one, it saves no one, and only serves to internalize anger and resentment within the mind and heart of the peacekeeper, and brings nothing to resolution.

Jesus Christ was a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper. He never compromised his faith and integrity for the sake of absence of conflict. In fact, he frequently incited conflict in order to bring about conflict resolution. He took the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day head on. He did not sugar-coat anything with them. He told them the truth about their wickedness and their hypocrisy, and this only angered them more. Yet, he did so because he cared about their sinful condition, and because he was concerned about the people whom they were leading astray, and so he brought these things to the surface so they could be dealt with, so that true peace could come to the hearts of his listeners, which is peace with God, forgiveness of sins, restoration with God, and true fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Persecuted for Righteousness (vv. 10-12)

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Yet, when we are merciful in the way in which Jesus was merciful, when we are meek in the manner in which he demonstrated meekness, and when we comfort others in a similar approach in which Jesus comforts us; when we seek passionately after Christ’s righteousness, are pure in heart, and when we decide to be peacemakers instead of peacekeepers, we will be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. In the same way in which they hated and persecuted the real Jesus (Christ), they will hate and persecute us if we follow his example, and if we walk righteously and in obedience to his Word.

There are those today who are serving Satan (and the beast) as its messengers who are preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible, and they want us to follow them, instead, so do not listen to them. Their goal is to do away with the gospel and its messengers in order to bring the world into a one-world religion under a one-world totalitarian regime. So, know the truth, and follow the truth and reject the lies. Follow Jesus Christ, his word, his teachings and his ways. And, pray for one another, because we live in an evil world of great deception which desires to deceive Christians in order to pull them away from their pure faith and devotion to Jesus Christ. So, pray much for discernment.

I Pray for Them / An Original Work / June 4, 2013

Based off John 17

“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”

“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”

“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”

“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”

“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”