Running on Empty

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:3)

Reflection:
Jesus said,  “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23) That is because those who value highly their material, intellectual and social wealth see little need for a Saviour. Similarly the safety demonstrations at the beginning of an air flight have no value whilst we believe the plane will not let us down.

However the kingdom cannot be acquired through wealth or status. It is instead given to those who acknowledge their spiritual bankruptcy – and therefore their great need.

Jesus drew towards Himself those who knew that they were so poor in a real and spiritual sense that they could offer nothing and claim nothing – the publicans, prostitutes and social outcasts. All they could do was to appeal to God for mercy, and He heard them. The publican in Jesus parable cried out with downcast eyes, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” As Calvin wrote, ‘He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit.’ And so here we also find Peter – a different person after the resurrection from the one who had boasted beforehand. Their understanding is that ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Your cross I cling.’

To acknowledge our spiritual poverty before God is to be emptied completely of self-importance, achievement, our dependence upon material things and our comparison of ourselves to others.  Emptied completely of self, and turning to put our trust in the Lord, we open the way to the real fullness of the Spirit.

The glorious wonder of it all is that He does have mercy. And, through the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus, He changes our rotten garments for the robes of salvation, our exclusion as outcasts for the intimacy of sons and daughters, our poverty for His richness and our death for His eternal life, love and joy. It is His Kingdom instead of our imaginary one, His all for our nothing. How blessed we are indeed – and when we see and accept the reality it becomes a shout of wonder and joy!

Response:
Decide to step increasingly away from worldly attitudes and values into the freedom of Christ.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to not look for excuses or exceptions but simply to acknowledge my truth before you and allow You to reveal Your Truth to me. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

——————-

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Faithful Ones

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“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:10)

 

Reflection:
At first this seems out of place amongst the other characteristics that Jesus envisions in the Christian:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

The first seven are those qualities that grow from within. This new one is something that is imposed from without. It is worth noticing in this regard that the first and the eighth beatitude both contain the same promise – ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ It was as if Jesus were keen to impress upon His disciples that membership of the kingdom was of prime importance – a truth He would more clearly state towards the end of the Sermon,

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)

The Christians, if they are to be persecuted at all, should suffer it not because of their own sins or shortcomings but ‘because of righteousness’ – the righteousness for which they hunger and thirst. That means that they will live to a different standard and with different values to the rest of the world. Like Christ who is their model and example the light of their lives and living will show up the darkness and difference in the world around them – and may cause a reaction.

The Christian filled with the Spirit of God cannot be luke-warm about his or her faith and relationship with Christ. Such will be the impact of that revelation and relationship that their lives will be transformed. They will increasingly see their own natural spiritual poverty, they will mourn over their sins and shortcomings – and the sin and suffering that they see around them – they will have no place in their lives for pride, arrogance or self-satisfaction and so will not look down upon others, they will long passionately for God’s love, life, healing and right rule to be released into the world, and they will increasingly have mercy on those who sin and suffer, and themselves seek to be undivided in their relationship with, and attitude and response to, God.

Although it may seem daunting to the Christian persecution is not something that they deliberately seek. If and when it happens they have the great promise of Jesus to be with them and the empowering and inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit within. Such may their awareness of them both grow at the time that, like the apostles before them, they come to rejoice that they have been counted worthy to suffer ‘on My account.’

“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41)

Response:
May God be glorified in me and through me. Do not fear – you will always receive what you need from God.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me to be Your disciple and the reflection of Your great Light. Amen.

————————

Make peace

2017-02-24

“Blessed are the peacemakers,
 for they will be called sons of God.”
(Matthew 5:9)

Reflection:
Peace is central to the message of the Gospels and to the revelation of God. God is seen as a God of peace and the giver of peace. Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace, the one who would ‘proclaim peace to the nations’ and who promised His peace to His disciples. And as Paul taught

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(Romans 5:1)

 With Jesus therefore as the great Peace-maker in reconciling us to God it is no wonder that peace-making should be an important part of the new Christian character. Scripture makes it clear to us.

  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22)
  • “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”  (Colossians 3:15)
  •  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  (Romans 12:18)

 In the letter to Timothy Paul links peace, amongst others, with a pure heart – one which is single or undivided – that is, totally focussed on and committed to God and not at war within itself with competing desires and loyalties.

 The peace-making to which Jesus refers would have three aspects. The first would be to do nothing to disturb our new relationship with God, but rather to honour and seek its development through our love and obedience. The second would be to live in harmony with ourselves – trusting God for His love, wisdom and salvation and, as best we can, allowing Him to develop us as people pure in heart, undivided in our loyalty to Him. The third would be in relation to those around us – both Christian and others.

 It is important to recall Jesus directives to us – to love God, to love our neighbour, to love one another and to love our enemies. These commands relate not only to our actions but our thoughts as well. We have to be careful how we think of others, speak of others and act towards others – or fail to act. Nothing can disturb our own peace quite as easily as someone else’s comments or deeds – and we may find that not only have we descended back to the level of the world but we have done so with great passion and enthusiasm! The way up again can be very humbling and painful. Peace-making starts within our hearts and minds and these have to be right themselves.

 The progression of the Beatitudes themselves is so informative. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful and now – in its deliberate place – the peacemakers. Having learned to see ourselves in a completely new way we can now look at others and seek not their destruction but their peace – with God, with themselves and with each other.

 Whilst peace will not always be possible in all circumstances, and within and between all people, we are nevertheless to see it as a priority. There will be many times where we can make a positive contribution and be led by the Spirit into creative ways and methods of preserving and promoting peace. The starting point may often stem from the peace and love that others may perceive in us.

Response:
If this is what God wants then this is what I must let Him make of me.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, bless me please with Your peace and help me to become more of a peace-sharer and peacemaker – for Your sake. Amen.

——————-

Pure in heart

2017-02-21

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.”
(Matthew 5:8)

Reflection:
The heart, in Scripture, was seen as the centre of the personality. It was the centre of everyone’s being and the source of every activity – whether mental, physical or emotional. Man’s troubles were seen to stem from this centre.

“The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (Jeremiah 17:9.KJV)

Jesus criticised the Pharisees accusing them of being ceremonially clean externally but with unclean hearts, full of extortion and wickedness. He compared then to ‘white-washed tombs’- good looking on the outside but filled with death within. Luther, commenting on this beatitude, said that in fact it did not matter if men such as labourers and blacksmiths were clothed in dirt as those who pondered God’s word and obeyed it would be ‘pure in heart’ in His eyes.

However, in its context within the Sermon on the Mount, and with reference to the rest of Scripture, it seems that Jesus would have had more in mind. Without excluding the inward and moral aspects of it He would be referring also to the whole question of their relationship with God. Professor Tasker has explained it as ‘the single-minded, who are free from the tyranny of a divided self.’ This would relate also to Jesus later comment that a person cannot serve two masters,

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

The single-hearted person is seen as being ‘utterly sincere’ in his whole relationship with and commitment to God. His heart will be totally focussed on and devoted to God. So David would pray,

  • “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:11-12)
  • “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

It also explains the first Great Commandment which calls us to love God ‘with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Another way of putting it would be to say with every fibre of your being.

Clearly this is beyond both our honest will and our own ability. However, by the grace of God, we have divine help in the form of the Holy Spirit. As we look increasingly towards God for help and open ourselves to Him, the Spirit is enabled to work.

  • “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
  • “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

Here at the central point of the Beatitudes we find this vital and telling truth. It reminds us that we cannot afford to be casual about our relationship with God, nor can we afford to be casual about our attitude to sin in our lives. In His love He has dealt with our sin. By His grace we have His Holy Spirit to transform us from within. New life with God is ours for the living – how can we hold back!

Response:
Turn everyday to God and ask for help.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to give you an undivided heart and to live in and from Your love. Please help me every day to draw closer to You in all ways. Amen.

—————-

Helping feet

2017-02-14

“Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.”
(Matthew 5:7)

 

Reflection:
Jesus calls us not only towards a new life but to a new nature as well. Our characters as the sons and daughters of God are to reflect the character of Jesus Himself. This will not be something that we achieve through our own efforts but through our openness to, and co-operation with, the Holy Spirit who is at work within us. The Beatitudes describe certain aspects of this character and the emphasis throughout is placed upon being rather than doing. In looking at them we can see where we are headed and also where we need to bring areas of our lives to God for His forgiveness, healing and help.

Where grace is associated with men in their sins mercy is associated with them in their misery – and desires to take some action to alleviate the suffering. Jesus story of the Good Samaritan turning aside to help a man who had been beaten and robbed is a good example. It also tells us that very often the suffering that God wants to address through us is right before us. This was certainly the case with Jesus Himself and He did not have to go looking for people who needed His help, comfort and healing. He had mercy on each and everyone who approached Him.

God’s mercy is both awe-inspiring and humbling. From His action in sending His Son to save us, to the death of Jesus on the Cross, to Jesus cry for mercy for those who crucified Him and to the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, God has showered us with His love. As He has loved us so He calls us to love others. As He has had mercy on us so He wishes us to have mercy on others – not because they deserve it but because He loves them. Such is His association with them that Jesus could say,

“The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

The Commands of love that Jesus affirmed and to which He added the Beatitudes, the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit together with the model of Jesus Himself remind us that we are not to be as the world is.  We are, by our new natures, to be radically different – as different as a light shining in the darkness. It is this vision that tells us something about the aim and purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives, both individually and collectively. We are not called just to do things for Jesus but to become people through whom His love and character are revealed.

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Response:
To whom can I show God’s love and mercy today?

Prayer:

Thank you Lord so much that You have had mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

———————–

Such an ache

2017-02-07

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”
(Matthew 5:6)

 

Reflection:
Jesus leads us on as He points us to a further change that He expects will take place – a hunger and thirst for righteousness. It should become characteristic of all God’s people because it is a longing of God Himself. We are not to look only into ourselves and regret what we see – we are also to notice the sin and its related horrors around us – the violence and abuse, the poverty and degradation, the stunted lives and spirits, the rejection and apathy towards God and the abuse and misuse of all He has made. It should drive us into prayer with an urgent longing for healing, change and justice.

Learning to see through the eyes and heart of God our desire will grow for the light of God to enter the lives of both victims and perpetrators. This can develop into an urgent need similar to that of a person aching for food and water – as Jesus did upon the cross. So strong may it become that we would exclaim, ‘that is totally unacceptable’ and do something.

Unlike the world with its ceaseless pursuit of power, possessions and pleasure, the Christian focus becomes that of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’ It includes living for the realisation of the prayer Jesus taught us – that God’s name be treasured and glorified, God’s kingdom be established and recognised and that God’s will be known and fulfilled, here on earth as it is already in heaven –starting with and in us. This is a righteousness of people’s relationship with God as well as a righteousness of their character and conduct before Him.

 Clearly it is not enough for us to mourn over past sin – we must also hunger and thirst for future righteousness in both our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This will be revealed in an increasing desire to be free from sin, to be free from the power of sin and to be free from the very desire for sin. In fact it becomes a longing to be holy and as close as possible to the model and character of Jesus Himself, as we reveal the fruit of the Spirit in thought, word and deed.

The starting point as always is prayer. Firstly, that God would develop that hunger and thirst within us – seeing that is what He wants – and direct it towards particular situations wherever they may be. Secondly, for the people or situations concerned – and to persevere in prayer for as long as it takes. Thirdly, to ask God what He wants us to do, and in some cases just to do the obvious. It’s about caring enough to act – because God cares and He acted. Luther put it this way,

The command to you is not to crawl into a corner or into the desert, but to run out, if that is where you have been. And to offer your hands and feet and your whole body, and to wager everything you have and can do…….If you cannot make the world completely pious, then do what you can.’

And ‘they will be filled.’ This is the promise that our longings and strivings and prayers will not be in vain but will by God’s grace make a difference and become a blessing even to us as He works in and through us.

Response:
Do not be friends with, or luke-warm about, sin and evil and suffering.

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to live fully as Your child – and to begin to see and act as You did. Amen

————

Be Gentle

2017-01-31

“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
(Matthew 5:5)

Reflection:
The Greek word here translated as ‘meek’ can also mean gentle, humble, considerate and courteous. It carries too the implication of the self-control through which these qualities are expressed. There is no sense in the word of weakness. The New English Bible therefore translates it as ‘gentle spirit.’

Dr Martyn Lloyd –Jones has said that it denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by an honest and true estimate of ourselves. Recognising our own weaknesses and ignorance should lead us to be gentle, humble, sensitive and patient in all our dealings with others.

The meek and gentle people of the world are, with some notable exceptions, often ignored or side-lined by others, and excluded from the worldly marks of success. However Jesus, in referring to them here promises that they,and not the self-promoters ‘will inherit the earth.’ This is not a completely new idea because through the Psalmist God had already hinted at it:

  • “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land” (Psalm 37:9)
  • “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace” (Psalm 37:11)

The gentle spirits recognize that it is our God who is the Almighty One. He may order and dispose of anything and everything as and when He wishes. However the Christian knows too that in Christ he or she already possesses all things that have lasting value, and that they will inherit all the blessings that God has prepared for them in the life to come. Whilst it is not an invitation to laziness it understands and accepts that it is not for us to strive after success, wealth, status or to fulfil for ourselves the promises of God. They come to us from His great and abundant love, and in the God of that love we trust and rest. Out of this trust and confidence in God we can then be people of a gentle spirit. As the Psalmist began the great Psalm 37,

  • Do not fret
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Delight yourself in the Lord
  • Commit your way to the Lord”
  • Be still before the Lord

Whilst the world worries, stresses and strives around us we are to be the ones who stand out because we have a different approach, different values and a different spirit within us. This gentleness of spirit may take time to grow and develop into its fullness as it is so contrary to the worldly way of things. It will be tested according to developments in our lives. However, knowing that it is of God, we can pray for it and look to develop it with His help. We will find that the closer we draw to Him the more we will trust and find our peace and rest in Him.

Response:
Jesus promised us the peace that passes understanding. Pray that it may grow within you.

Prayer:

Father, please help me to find my peace, joy and fulfilment in You and in Your great love for me – and to be gentle with all those whom I meet. Amen.

————–

All for nothing

2017-01-17

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
(Matthew 5:3)

Reflection:
Jesus great teaching in the Sermon in the Mount is addressed to His disciples. He paints a picture of the qualities that would begin to reveal themselves in His followers both individually and together. They stand in stark contrast to the ways of the world.

The teaching commences with the Beatitudes, the blessings in which constitute the privileges of the Christians concerned – both now and in the future. God bestows them on the ones in whom He is working the character described. In humility and awe we discover that these are not just statements but joyful acknowledgements of a grace and truth that nothing can destroy. It is all God’s grace from start to finish.

Right at the beginning of the Sermon Jesus challenges and refutes all human judgements and all nationalistic expectations of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is given to the ‘poor’ – not those full of themselves and their wealth, power, intellectualism, social standing and independence.

Jesus drew towards Himself those who knew that they were so poor in a real and spiritual sense that they could offer nothing and claim nothing – the publicans, prostitutes and rejects of society. All they could do was to cry to God for mercy, and He heard them. The publican in Jesus parable cried out with downcast eyes, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” And, as Calvin wrote, ‘He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit.’ And so here we also find Peter – a different person after the resurrection from the one who had boasted beforehand. Their understanding is that ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Your cross I cling.’

To be poor in spirit is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty before God, to be emptied completely of self-importance, achievement and our attachment to and dependence upon material things – so empty in fact that there is also no basis for comparison with any other person.  Emptied completely of self, and turning to put our trust in the Lord, we open the way to the real fullness of the Spirit.

The glorious wonder of it all is that He does have mercy. And, through the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus, He changes our rotten garments for the robes of salvation, our exclusion as outcasts for the intimacy of sons and daughters, our poverty for His richness and our death for His eternal life, love and joy. It is His Kingdom instead of our imaginary one, His all for our nothing. How blessed we are indeed – and when we see and accept the reality it becomes a shout of wonder and joy!

Response:
Decide to step increasingly away from worldly attitudes and values into the freedom of Christ.

Prayer:

Lord, help me not to look for excuses or exceptions but simply to acknowledge my truth before you and allow You to reveal Your truth to me. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

——————-

Persecuted

2016.06.01

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:10)

Reflection:
At first this seems out of place amongst the other characteristics that Jesus envisions in the Christian:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

The first seven are those qualities that grow from within. This new one is something that is imposed from without. The truth is, though, and particularly as it follows the one that refers to peacemakers, that there will be some people who will refuse to live in peace with the Christians. In fact, they may purposefully oppose them.

The Christian may be persecuted not because of some over-zealous or anti-social behaviour on their part but because they are a certain type of person and, therefore, behave in a certain way. These ways are described in the first seven beatitudes. It is worth noticing in this regard that the first and the eighth beatitude both contain the same promise – ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ It was as if Jesus were keen to impress upon His disciples that membership of the kingdom was of prime importance – a truth He would more clearly state towards the end of the Sermon,

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)

The Christians, if they are to be persecuted at all, should suffer it not because of their own sins or shortcomings but ‘because of righteousness’ – the righteousness for which they hunger and thirst. That means that they will live to a different standard and with different values to the rest of the world. Like Christ who is their model and example the light of their lives and living will show up the darkness and difference in the world around them – and may cause a reaction. The sad truth is that, as with Jesus, the people involved may be those who appear to be within the Church as well as those who are without. It is so natural a consequence in the world in which we live that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would write,

‘Suffering is the badge of true discipleship.’

The Christian filled with the Spirit of God cannot be luke-warm about his or her faith and relationship with Christ. Such will be the impact of that revelation and relationship that their lives will be transformed. They will increasingly see their own natural spiritual poverty; they will mourn over their sins and shortcomings – and the sin and suffering that they see around them; they will have no place in their lives for pride, arrogance or self-satisfaction and so will not look down upon others; they will long passionately for God’s love, life, healing and right rule to be released into the world; they will increasingly have mercy on those who sin and suffer, and themselves seek to be undivided in their relationship with, and attitude and response to, God.

Although it may seem daunting to the Christian persecution is not something that they deliberately seek. If and when it happens they have the great promise of Jesus to be with them and the empowering and inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit within. Such may their awareness of Them grow at the time that, like the apostles before them, they come to rejoice that they have been counted worthy to suffer ‘on My account.’

“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41)

Response:
May God be glorified in me and through me. Do not fear – you will always receive what you need from God.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me to be Your disciple and the reflection of Your great Light. Amen.

—————————

Peacemakers

2016.05.31

“Blessed are the peacemakers,
 for they will be called sons of God.”
(Matthew 5:9)

Reflection:
Peace is central to the message of the Gospels and to the revelation of God. God is seen as a God of peace and the giver of peace. Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace, the one who would ‘proclaim peace to the nations’ and who promised His peace to His disciples. And as Paul taught

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)

 With Jesus therefore as the great Peace-maker in reconciling us to God it is no wonder that peace-making should be an important part of the new Christian character. Scripture makes it clear to us.

  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22)
  • “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”  (Colossians 3:15)
  •  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  (Romans 12:18)

 In the letter to Timothy Paul links peace, amongst others, with a pure heart – one which is single or undivided – that is, totally focussed on and committed to God and not at war within itself with competing desires and loyalties.

 The peace-making to which Jesus refers would have three aspects. The first would be to do nothing to disturb our new relationship with God, but rather to honour and seek its development through our love and obedience. The second would be to live in harmony with ourselves – trusting God for His love, wisdom and salvation and, as best we can, allowing Him to develop us as people pure in heart, undivided in our loyalty to Him. The third would be in relation to those around us – both Christian and others.

 It is important to recall Jesus directives to us – to love God, to love our neighbour, to love one another and to love our enemies. These commands relate not only to our actions but our thoughts as well. We have to be careful how we think of others, speak of others and act towards others – or fail to act. Nothing can disturb our own peace quite as easily as someone else’s comments or deeds – and we may find that not only have we descended back to the level of the world but we have done so with great passion and enthusiasm! The way up again can be very humbling and painful. Peace-making starts within our hearts and minds and these have to be right themselves.

 The progression of the Beatitudes themselves is so informative. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful and now – in its deliberate place – the peacemakers. Having learned to see ourselves in a completely new way we can now look at others and seek not their destruction but their peace – with God, with themselves and with each other.

 Whilst peace will not always be possible in all circumstances, and within and between all people, we are nevertheless to see it as a priority. There will be many times where we can make a positive contribution and be led by the Spirit into creative ways and methods of preserving and promoting peace. The starting point may often stem from the peace and love that others may perceive in us.

Response:
If this is what God wants then this is what I must let Him make of me.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, bless me please with Your peace and help me to become more of a peace-sharer and peacemaker – for Your sake. Amen.

———————