Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8).
Your heart is not pure.
You will not see God.
Well, aren’t we glad that there’s more to the story than that. Of course your heart is not pure; you know good and well what goes on in there. I’m in the same boat, and so is everyone you know. And everyone you don’t.
Praise God that he doesn’t leave us in that boat.
God wants us to see him. He wants us to have fellowship with him. And he knows that is not going to happen if we’re left to ourselves. So he cleanses us, he renews us, he gives us that pure heart that allows us to see him.
If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Before you go out into your Monday, do yourself a favor—get your heart right before God. Confess what needs confessing, address what needs addressing, let him purify your heart.
Then get ready to see.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7).
I need mercy like you wouldn’t believe.
Well, maybe you would.
I mean, I’m not an axe-murderer or anything. I’ve never run over an old lady while driving drunk in a car I stole from an orphanage. It’s just that I know what God requires, I know my heart, and I know that without the mercy of God I wouldn’t make it to my next breath. So when I read this verse, I get really practical. Actually, I get a little mercenary. Or mercy-enary. I figure it like this: I give and I get.
As self-serving as that sounds, I think it makes me more merciful. When I see a need, I think of all the times I have needed mercy. And all the times I will. And I’m more likely to give. I guess you could call it making a deposit in the mercy bank.
That is one account I never want to see overdrawn.
Think you might need mercy one of these days?
Then walk in mercy today, Beloved.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Father, grant me the hunger that only you can satisfy,
the thirst that only you can quench.
Create in me an emptiness that you alone can fill.
Sometimes I think I’m complete
but I’m not;
I’m just crowded.
Father of all desire
let me crave
Happy Thursday, Beloved
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
Let’s not read too much into this, shall we?
I doubt that Jesus was literally promising you the world. Really—what would you do with it if you had it? A town, certainly, maybe even a small state—but the entire world? Come now. And what about that woman down the street, or the guy at work; do they also inherit the earth? How do we do the sharesies on that one? Jesus is teaching that those who walk with God will have all their needs completely met. The earth and all that is in it are the Lord’s, and he gives joyfully to those who are his.
On another note, “Meek” is not the same as “Weak.” When we read this verse, it’s easy to get the picture of these mousy, quiet, timid little oatmeal-eating people running the world someday. It makes you wonder how anything would ever get done. “Meek,” in the biblical sense, means to be humble and gentle before God and man. A meek person trusts God to provide for him, and doesn’t feel the need to push and shove in order to get what is his. One who trusts God, fully and completely, isn’t worried about the other guy. He has nothing to prove and no one to beat. He can afford to be gentle.
So, Beloved, will you walk in meekness today? There may be a small county in it for you.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).
It’s good to mourn.
Oh maybe not good in the sense of, “Woohooo, my heart is breaking, I’ve lost everything I love—let’s get ice cream and cheesy puffs!”
Not good in that sense.
Good in the sense that it’s a natural part of who we are. It’s healthy; it shows that we love. After all, we do not mourn that which we did not love.
God mourns. Jesus mourned Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37). He wept at the grave of Lazarus. I believe that the Father mourns those who choose to live and die apart from him. When we mourn, we show that we are made in his image. We reveal the stamp of our Creator.
And when we mourn, we are comforted.
There’s the promise. The God of all peace, all healing, all love, stands ready to comfort us in our loss. And that comfort outweighs our pain.
So, once again God invites us to be vulnerable and rest in his protection, to be weak and draw on his strength, to be empty and let him fill us, to be broken and allow him to restore.
When we are weak, he is strong—in us and through us.
What have you lost, Beloved? What do you mourn?
Walk in his comfort today.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved
The words in red are calling to me. Whaddaya say we spend some time with the Sermon on the Mount?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven(Matthew 5:3).
You’re not impressing him. You know that, don’t you?
OK, so you pray, and you read the Word, and you tithe; you even visit sick orphans in prison. That’s great. I applaud you. But don’t think that you’re going to parlay that into some kind of spiritual currency. It just doesn’t work that way.
Man, I sometimes wish it did, but it doesn’t.
Jesus says to be poor in spirit—to recognize that all you have to offer is really not so much at all. I once survived for three weeks on generic ramen noodles, a dozen eggs, and tap water. I couldn’t afford shampoo—I used dishwashing liquid. I don’t recommend it. Needless to say, I did little entertaining during those weeks. I knew that I had nothing to offer.
When we come to God, we need to realize that we have nothing to offer that he needs. He owns everything. He doesn’t need our spiritual ramen. When we come to him, we need to be poor in spirit.
The tax collector in Luke 18 had it right. He came with no demands, but with one simple plea: have mercy. That’s the ticket to the kingdom.
It’s Monday. The Lord of all stands ready to shower you with his love, his grace, his peace this morning. You didn’t earn it; you can’t pay for it. But you will need it before the day is out. Receive it, Beloved. Open your heart wide and receive it.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar (Psalm 51:18-19).
David concludes this very personal prayer with an appeal for his people.
I like that. It’s classy.
David asks God to bless his people, so that they might glorify Him. Perhaps that’s a prayer we can join in today. Maybe we ask God that we take all the blessings he showers on us and use them to praise his name.
Beloved, consider all that you deserve, but have not received.
Consider all that you do not deserve, but have received.
It could be so different, couldn’t it?
Offer up a sacrifice of praise today. I suggest we skip the burnt offering–that might be problematic. Instead, praise him with your voice and your heart and your time and your obedience.
He is always listening.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:16-17).
He doesn’t want your stuff.
He doesn’t want your show.
He wants you.
Chew on that for a bit, Beloved.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from blood guilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise (Psalm 51:13-15).
What, we got a little quid pro quo going on here? Is David trying to make a deal with God, sort of you-help-me-out-here-and-I’ll-do-you-a-solid-down-the-line?
Yeah, no, I don’t think so.
David knows better than to bargain with God. He has already thrown himself on God’s mercy and acknowledged that he can do nothing without God’s strength.
But David is making a promise. He promises that he will give God full credit for restoring David. He will help others to learn from his mistakes. David will spread the word of God’s righteousness at the top of his lungs, and he will do everything in his power to bring God glory.
Have you ever done that, Beloved? Have you ever been so carried away by God’s goodness that you vowed to declare his praises to the world?
Um…this is a bit of an awkward question…but…did you follow through?
Follow through, Beloved.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:12).
Boy, that David. It’s all gimme, gimme, gimme with him, isn’t it?
Forgive my sins!
Cleanse me with hyssop!
Create in me a pure heart!
Stay close to me!
Restore my joy!
Renew my spirit!
Yep, David asks and asks and asks…
And God gives and gives and gives.
Remember that, Beloved.