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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 5:6’

Passions and Priorities

September 6th, 2017

  Your passion determines your priorities.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV  

My comments today are about, “Passions and Priorities.”

God is not elusive nor the path to God concealed. But the spiritual opposition to your seeking God is intense, both externally and internally. An evil trinity of spiritual forces oppose you. The world around you, your flesh within you, and the devil against you all conspire to turn your heart to other pursuits more immediately pleasing.

God described David as, “a man after My own heart who will do all My will.” Acts 13:22 NKJV. What a wonderful way that God described David. Your passion determines your priority. Your priority reveals your passion. David’s passion for God fueled his priority to know and please God. “You will seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV. Any serious pursuit of God must be done with earnestness and priority.

Jesus was clear and specific, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV. How would others describe your appetite and thirst for God today? Earnestly and diligently are apt descriptions of how you should be seeking God’s highest and best for your life.

David described his passion for God as he wrote, ”My soul follows hard after God.” Psalm 63:8 KJV. Seeking God is not for the easily distracted or readily discouraged, and never for the merely casual or curious. Such is the path reserved for those for whom life without God is not enough.

You will earnestly seek for what you believe is of incomparable value and for which you will accept no substitute. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask [according to His will] – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV.

Jesus presented a Biblical progression for those determined to seek God with whole hearted devotion and single-minded purpose. Read Luke 11:9-10 NIV. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Asking is elementary. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV. Asking reflects your priority of God’s will and your patience with God’s timing.

Jesus also said, “Seek, and you will find.” Seeking involves attitude as much as activity, a time while the Spirit refines the sincerity of your heart. “[God] rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV. As my Dad often reminded me, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.”

Jesus concluded by saying, “Knock, and the door will be opened unto you.” Knocking indicates your anticipation more than insistence. Jesus concluded with this promise, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to cultivate a heart that seeks after God always.

Christian Communications 2017

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Being Satisfied

February 10th, 2014

“[God blesses] those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” Matthew 5:6 TEV.

God can satisfy what would otherwise be insatiable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being satisfied.”

What is better than satisfaction? Contentment and satisfaction is God’s intention for you. “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness . . You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 107:9 NKJV/145:16 NIV. Everyone looks for satisfaction, but fulfillment can seem elusive. That occurs because people look for the wrong things, or for the right things in the wrong places. Your spirit is eternal and not satisfied with what is only temporal.

In our study of the Beatitudes, you have found God has gracious promises for an exemplary life that is “real, compassionate, and submissive.” Let’s go a bit further. (4) “Being satisfied.” To those who desire only what pleases God, satisfaction is assured and ample. “[God blesses] those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully.” Matthew 5:6 TEV. What God requires is no mere suggestion. Satisfaction is certain when your greatest pleasure and passion is to please God first and fully. Dissatisfaction warns you of trusting the wrong things for fulfillment; when dissatisfied, examine the origin and nature of your strongest desires.

Satisfaction is not found in what you have or how much; it is found when your search leads you to the best of things at the right Source. Isaiah asks a piercing question, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” Read Isaiah 55:1-3 NIV. Why indeed? To perpetually waste effort, energy, and expense on what is ultimately disappointing is foolish, not wise. Be sure of this, more of what doesn’t satisfy is never going to satisfy. Habits, and even addictions, occur from one’s futile attempts to gratify desires or ambitions that are insatiable apart from God. Whatever you think you lack, life is full when you discover that God Himself is enough.

My Dad gave me good advice, “First things first, every time.” Success, as well as satisfaction, begin with Godly desires and those result in Godly priorities. “Be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things.” Matthew 6:33 TEV.

Jesus’ promise is true; for those who hunger and thirst passionately for what is righteous, God will satisfy them fully.” No disclaimers needed nor exceptions. God can satisfy what would otherwise be insatiable. Passionately desire what God desires and absolute fulfillment results, whatever your circumstance. “The Lord . . will satisfy your needs . . You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 NIV.

Satisfaction is never found in the quantity of what you have but in its quality and durability. Stuff provides an illusion temporarily; God alone satisfies enduringly. ”In righteousness, I will see your face . . I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15 NIV. The ultimate satisfaction will be when face to face forever, you will be satisfied in His abiding presence and eternal provision.

My prayer for you today is that you will know a heavenly contentment of heart.

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Make Room for People

September 9th, 2013

“Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman.”  2 Kings 4:8 NKJV.

What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.

My thoughts and comments today are to “make room for people.”

Be careful; without realizing it, your life can become too small, or too busy, or so self-centered that you have room only for yourself. That lifestyle is selfish, unsatisfying, and eventually lonely. Making room for other people is an intentional lifestyle issue. The Bible is clear; “Therefore as [you] have opportunity, do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10 NIV. Jesus promised that whatever good you do for others is credited as being for Him, but also warned that neglect of others is negligence toward Him. “I assure you, when you did it to the least of these . . you were doing it to Me . . when you refused to help the least of these . . you were refusing to help Me.” Read Matthew 25:34-46 NLT.

In the Old Testament, there is an otherwise anonymous lady who lived in Shunem, a small, unspectacular village. But the Bible described her as, “notable.” Read 2 Kings 4:8-10 NKJV. Of the many words to describe a person; I think “notable” may be one of the best. Blessed are those who make room in their heart and home for others.  This woman can be described as “notable” because room for others in her heart and life provided a spare room in her home. “Let’s make a little room for [this holy man of God] . . and furnish it with a bed, a table and chair, and a lamp.” (Verses 9-10 NLT). She provided for his comfort, and more. From her practical furnishings – “a bed, table, and lamp” – I suggest three simple applications. She provided Elisha room for rest, refreshment, and revelation.

Make room for people to be rested. For those spiritually and emotionally drained from the cares of life: their struggles, failures, sorrows, or regrets, make room in your heart and life where others find shelter recovery. You can be a living example of Jesus’ invitation, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened . . and you will find rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Proper rest renews vigor, hope, and fresh resolve in a person’s heart.

Make room for people to be refreshed. For those with a soul hunger for forgiveness, acceptance, friendship, understanding, hope, or practical help, make room in your life where others are refreshed in spirit. Your welcome and invitation to them becomes Jesus’ promise, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NKJV.

Make room for people to receive revelation. For those where questions and doubt have darkened their spirit, make room in your life for them where light and illumination reveals truth and hope. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world . . Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father . . children of God . . [who] shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.” See Matthew 5:14-16 NLT/Philippians 2:15-16 NKJV.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes Me . . whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these because he is My follower will certainly receive a reward.” Read Matthew 10:40-42 NLT. A friend of mine explained that principle, “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.”

My prayer for you today is that your heart and home are open to God and others.

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Appetites

June 28th, 2013

“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Matthew 5:6 NIV

Your passions foretell your direction and destination.

My thoughts and comments today are about “appetites.”

Everyone is hungry for something at some time. Here’s what I’ve learned: hunger insists on attention, resists attempts to ignore, and persists until satisfied. Original sin resulted from Adam and Eve’s appetite for something God was accused of withholding. Read Genesis 3:1-6 NKJV. They were tempted and sinned when they would not trust God to be enough. 2 Corinthians 9:8/10 NIV. If you are not wise and careful, physical desires can displace spiritual values.

My thoughts today are about far more than physical appetites. There is a God given desire in your spirit that is stronger than any physical hunger, yet can be overlooked if your priorities and preoccupation are on physical desires alone. How you satisfy your natural desires can foster appetites that become more controlling as you indulge them. Right appetites ennoble behavior; wrong appetites cause unproductive conduct. Guard your inner life carefully. Avoid the whim of momentary desires, and you will choose well and live prudently.

Appetites you allow determine choices which impact your life, for better or worse. Those lesser appetites produce strong passions, difficult to control if not scrutinized and rightly directed. Wrong appetites can easily become addictions, which are increasingly insatiable when gratified without constraint. Be careful what you want, because you just might get it. Lives have become shipwreck, and too many remained so, simply because they neither deliberately chose nor conquered the cravings that drove their passions. Apart from God, the heart is “Deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? But I, the Lord, search the heart . .” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV. Expose your heart to God. He knows you better than you know yourself.

Your passions foretell your direction and destination. Consider the power of centering your heart and passions on God. Outside of Jesus Christ, satisfaction is illusive as well as elusive. Jesus was crystal clear about where your soul finds satisfaction, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be [satisfied].” Matthew 5:6 NIV. Jesus chose words that were not casual; His words are extreme, desperate even, about strong yearning, “hunger and thirst.” Jesus spoke of intensity and focus on a clear and noble objective, “Righteousness.” Right desires produce right results. I love Paul’s description of people whose whole heart was on serving God and others: ”The house of Stephanas . . have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 16:15 KJV.

Here’s what your passion for righteousness would look like. Love and obey the Word of God. Job 23:12 NIV. Prioritize quality time in God’s presence. Psalm 16:11 NIV. Observe quiet times of prayer and Biblical meditation. Psalm 1:2 NASV. Cultivate the spirit and practice of worship. Psalm 29:2 NKJV. Practice the discipline of fasting. Matthew 6:16 NIV. Fellowship with others who mentor your spiritual growth. 1 John 1:7 NIV. If you are going to run with a crowd, run with people who are going the direction you want to go.

My prayer for you today is that your strongest desires are directed toward righteousness.

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Right Desires

January 4th, 2013

Govern your desires and you will rightly direct your life.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Matthew 5:6 NKJV.

Life is driven by desires and appetites, not casual whims. Those desires can be oriented spiritually or will originate carnally. As early as the Garden of Eden, human nature has suffered from a resident fallenness which is not naturally inclined heavenward. “When [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and . . desirable to make one wise, she took of the fruit . .” Genesis 3:6 NKJV. Her direction was set when her natural desires overpowered her longing to obey God.

Desire must be wisely governed and purposefully directed or will express your baser nature. Know this; wrong appetites are never fully satisfied. Right desires and Godly appetites always are. “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 NLT. In describing the pathway to “supreme blessedness,” Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NKJV.  The original word translated as “filled” is so much more. The Greek word suggests the idea of “being saturated.”

The Biblical concept is more akin to the Bible’s description of a person experiencing, “. . good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over . . filled with all the fullness of God . . always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance . .” See Luke 6:38/Ephesians 3:19/2 Corinthians 9:8. Even those superlatives are inadequate to describe all God desires for you. Clearly, the Father’s will for you is overflowing, everlasting fullness but His love for you will not allow your satisfaction with unworthy desires. Read Isaiah 55:1-2 NIV.

Life is not really determined by your decisions and directions; those are just symptomatic. Decisions and directions are subtly, or strongly, determined by your desires. Govern your desires and you will rightly direct your life. David learned first-hand the danger of not monitoring and ruling his desires. In repentance, he sought to recapture the purity of his heart for God – the recovery of his “first love.” See Revelation 2:1-5 NKJV. “One thing I have desired of the Lord; that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 NKJV. See Psalm 42:1-2 NLT.

Jesus was clear about the power of desires and appetites to direct a person’s life in pursuit of things either perishable or imperishable: “But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose . . Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’” John 6:27 NLT/7:37-39 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you desire the highest and best of all that is eternal.

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