We’re in the process of studying Jesus’ sermon on the mount. A sermon given to His disciples. It starts off with a list of characteristics that make up Christian character. These characteristics make up what and who we are, NOT what we do…or what people see.
The first one was “Poor in spirit.”
Today we’ll look at the second one found in Matthew 5: 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We all know from experience that this world we live in can be difficult. All of us will have times of mourning. According to the Bible, there are 3 types of mourning that we’ll experience: a deep and bitter mourning, such as the loss of a loved one; mourning over the condition of the world; and the mourning over our own sin. Our devotions today says we can find blessings during these times.
So…“Blessed are those who mourn”…no matter what kind. Why? Because we will be comforted. We can be comforted now because God has already cleansed us of our sin. And we can also be comforted by the promise of hope and future with Christ.
Oh, how truly happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted!
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
As Christmas season approaches we think about all the gifts and holiday celebrations that seem to surround the season. This week the challenge is to think about gifts in different way. Take this week to read 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 and hear what God is telling you about spiritual gifts. What gift or gifts has God blessed you with, so that you therefore can bless others? If, you don’t know the answer to this question, think about your life, what are you good at, what do others tend to rely on you for, what is it that you are able to give, and/or what are you seeking? No matter what realize, God is calling you for his purpose and has gifted you in a special way. He will use you through this gift if you let him.
During the course of the last couple of years we’ve had the opportunity to go through 3 books of the Bible. We’ve studied James, 1st Timothy and 2nd Timothy. NOW, we’re going to do something a little different. You’ll see what I mean as we go through it…but we’re going to study Jesus’ sermon on the Mount.
As you’ll see in the passage, this sermon was given to His disciples – guys he’s invested years of time with. The sermon starts with a list of 7 different characteristics that make up Christian character. These characteristics make up WHAT WE ARE (character/integrity), NOT WHAT WE DO…OR WHAT PEOPLE SEE. And what these characteristics do is create a sharp distinction between Christians and the non-Christians. They are supposed to set us apart. As we look at them, the question to ask ourselves is, are we set apart?
Matthew 5:1-3 says: “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed” in Greek means ‘Oh, how happy.’ True happiness comes from this. It is a byproduct of a right relationship with God.
We are to be the ‘poor in spirit.’ This 1st characteristic of God is a foundation that God can build on. God cannot build on a foundation of pride, self-will, or our own ambitions. Poor in spirit is a willingness to surrender to the authority and control of God. Recognize our place – our sinfulness, our need of Him and His plans – not our own.
For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s sovereign rule over the whole universe now and forever. To be set apart NOW as a believer is Jesus as a Christian. To be set apart FOREVER when Jesus returns. It is the already…but not yet.
So the 1st characteristic of WHAT WE ARE in Christ, is having a willingness to surrender to the authority and control of God. With this we’ll find true happiness with God…both now and forever.
We have used this video a number of times on Pizza Ranch Serves, but it has such a powerful message, I thought it would be perfect for this week. Please take time today to really listen to the lyrics. There is a strong message in here for all of us today!
Sometimes performing courageous acts are a reaction to a difficult situation. Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t think about what you need to do, you just react? Our tale from the trail this week is an example of that. In November, when an F4 tornado tore through central Illinois and only 15 miles from the Morton, IL Pizza Ranch, Julie and John McVey didn’t think, they went into action. Below is a recap of some of the things they did following the tornado. Thank you Julie and John for being courageous and making an impact with a lot of people that were affected by the tornadoes!
“As you know the Illinois area was heavily impacted last week with tornadoes. Morton Illinois Pizza Ranch itself was not impacted other than loss of power. In calling and talking with Julie the owner they have already stepped up big this week. They have connected with the local Red Cross chapter and are doing an all week fundraiser donating 10% of sales and donations to the Red Cross. In addition, they have gone to the hotel’s that are having families of the storm stay and hand out flyers for a free meal for the families. Tomorrow John and Julie are able to go into the Washington suburb with the Red Cross and hand out free small pizza’s to volunteers and family that again have loss.”
I would contend that each of us show courage every day. Whether we work at Pizza Ranch or anywhere else, we show courage by doing our everyday job to the best of our ability.
Our assignment today is to think about where we show courage each day (is it at the office, with our spouse, with our children, with unbelievers, with our church, with an addiction).
The second part is writing on a piece of paper where you can show more courage in your life. Courageous acts always start with a first step. Until you tell yourself that you will be more courageous in this area it will never begin. Be strong, be courageous, and make a difference this week!