Hunger & Thirst after Righteousness

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Continuing to look at the paradox in each of the Beatitudes.

 The meaning of Paradox = seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

And this Beatitude is no different:

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

Matthew 5:6

Hunger and thirst are two of the most basic human instincts, they form a craving, a need born out necessity. This is also true of our most basic need for God. There is within each one of us a God shaped hole, which only God Himself can satisfy. It doesn’t matter how many other things we use to fill our lives, they won’t satisfy, only Jesus can.

So to hunger & thirst after righteousness, is a blessed experience because it is when you are in that state of hungering, hankering after something which will satisfy, when you are thirsty for the truth, that You will seek for God, You will pursue, and You will find.

Righteousness means right standing with God, and that only happens through Jesus. Jesus alone is the One who has paid for our sin, Jesus alone is the One who has opened the way to God for us, bridging that gulf of sin, Jesus alone is righteous and so it is to Jesus that we must come for our righteousness, it is to Jesus that we must come to have our right standing with God.

And having that right standing means to go on, to pursue, to continue on to know more of God, to put aside other worldly pleasures, to put aside our own ambitions, thoughts and plans, desiring to know God first and foremost.

Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly, He came to stir our hearts so that we won’t settle for temporal things which won’t last and won’t satisfy, for He promised that He is enough, that His Grace is sufficient and that He will meet our needs, He alone will satisfy.

Sometimes that hunger & thirst of desire is created within us through hardships, through tough times, as they let us see how empty other things are, things which don’t satisfy those deep longings in our heart. That is where the paradox comes in and if that is the case with you dear friend, then know that you are blessed indeed, know that when you know your need, that you are blessed. Let that need drive you to Jesus and to Him alone, for that need could be the means of blessing to your soul.

Blessed are the Meek

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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Matthew 5:5

Really? It is the meek who shall inherit the earth? According to our Society today it is the strong, the academic, the loud, the aggressive; those who are cut-throat and don’t let anyone stand in their way, surely they are the ones who inherit the earth and the rest of us just slide along at the bottom of the pile?

Not so according to Jesus. It is the meek. Not the wimpy, not the weak, but MEEK. Those who choose to be humble, those who choose to hold back aggression to be kind and gentle, those who don’t seek their own glory, but will give a lending hand to others, those who know whose they are in Christ and so choose a different walk.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness & patience

Colossians 3:12

Just as Jesus, with all His majesty and divine power chose to humble himself, chose to walk this earth in submission to His Father, chose to walk humble, chose to walk meek, so He calls us to do the same.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:1-8

So to inherit the earth as one of the meek it starts with having that humble, submissive heart to God, in recognition of His Sovereignty, surrendered to Him in trust.

To inherit the earth means that we have that peace and serenity which the world longs for, but cannot give; it is being in harmony with God through the sacrifice of Jesus; it is walking with Jesus, learning from Him, emulating His ways and His compassionate heart.

We can choose to walk a different way from the world, we can choose to walk in meekness, we can choose to follow the ways of the Man from Galilee and in so doing we will inherit the blessings of God, we will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who Mourn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

Matthew 5:4

We have had a deep sorrow and mourning in our community in recent days. The pain, the sorrow is still very raw.

What words do we have to comfort? Where can we find our comfort? What is our comfort at such awful times?

IMMANUEL – God with us, He is our comfort. The fact that He is right here with us and knows our pain, that He sees our tears and that it is He Himself who will come and wipe them away for us, is our comfort.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away

Revelation 21:3,4

We have a present promise: God Himself will be with us. We are not walking through this alone, the Man of Sorrows is with us.

We have a future hope: for when all the pain, tears and sorrows will cease.

We must not forget eternity!! We must not be so caught up with the present that we forget about eternity, or forget that as Christians we have a hope which will shed light and meaning to our present sorrows.

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” 1 Corinthians 15:19

Not only do we have a hope, but we must share that hope. There are so many people still stuck in sorrow, still stuck in mourning, with no hope, asking ‘where is your God?’ We can answer that He is here, He is with us and that eternity will shine light and bring meaning to our present sorrows. And how in eternity all our pain, all our sorrows and all our tears will be wiped away.

God Himself will comfort.

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

The Beatitudes

In the lead up to Christmas, we have begun a new bible study in my ladies group on the Beatitudes. They are not a section of the bible which I have studied before. Read, yes, understood no!

So the goal I set myself at the start of the study was: “to know that I am blessed, even in the midst of adverse circumstances, by intentionally giving thanks”.

Because that is thing isn’t it, the things which would get us down, make us uncomfortable, even seek to destroy us, Jesus tells us that actually we are blessed by them!

So firstly what does it mean to be blessed? One definition I came across was: “a state of well being in relationship with God”. And Jesus was all about relationship wasn’t He? Jesus’s teaching was meant to bless us :-

” For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus went up to a mountain and it was then when He saw the crowds, had pity on them because they were like sheep without a Shepherd, that He spoke these words. Words to draw us in, words to bring us comfort, words to bring us hope, words to bring relief and words to be blessed by.

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

Matthew 5:3

The poor in spirit? Yes, those rejected and despised by society, those who have no natural gifting, those for whom life has dealt a harsh blow, those who know their need, those who know that without God they are nothing. You are blessed because it is that very knowledge which leads to that dependency upon God, which in turns bring its blessing. Those hardships which would seek to destroy us are in actual fact the gateway to blessing because they drive us to dependency upon God.

That dependency is what then opens the whole of the kingdom of heaven for us and that my friend means that we are blessed indeed! Blessed in relationship with God.