Meek Is Not Weak

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

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)

Many people equate being meek with being weak. One fine example of a meek man who was incredibly strong was the 20th century Indian lawyer and advocate of home rule for India. He led passive resistance against the repressive British laws of his day. After a life of working against ethnic discrimination he was cruelly assassinated. His strength of character was remarkable and his gentle disposition admirable.

Of course, as Christians, we marvel at the magnificent character of our Lord Who said He was “meek and lowly of heart”. Yet when He was challenged by the hypocritical religious leaders, He responded with grace each time. When He was finally arrested, accused of false deeds, viciously mocked, flogged ruthlessly, and ultimately crucified, He did not break. Instead, He prayed that His enemies might be forgiven. As one poet, Isaac Watts wrote;

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul my life my all

Today draw near to this meekest of men Who is also the sovereign of the universe. Ask Him to give you His abiding presence and grace to learn from Him. He patiently waits for you to come to Him, find rest, and enjoy His presence both now and forever. Come, and come now.

Weeping Over Sin

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

“I tell you, no! But unless you repent,
you too will all perish.”
Luke 13:3 (NIV)

“If we claim to be without sin, 
we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)

“…their glory is in their shame.” 
Philippians 3:19 (NIV)

As we look at the Beatitudes recorded in Matthew 5:3-10 there is an obvious progression of thought and spiritual development. In Matthew 5:3 we see that a recognition of spiritual bankruptcy is the starting point for true conversion to Christianity. However not all who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy “mourn” over it. Paul refers to a class of people in Philippians 3:19 who brag about their shameful ways.

Jokes about sin are an indication the one speaking has a light view of sin or at least the sin in the joke. For example, joking about drunken behaviour makes light of being intoxicated. Scripture tells us that being drunk is sinful (Galatians 5:20-21). Being drunk or making jokes about it is condemned in Philippians 3:19.

Those who “mourn” over their sin and repent of it will be the ones who receive divine “comfort” according to Jesus. This matter of mourning and repenting for sin is at the heart of the Christian message and needs to be presented in our evangelism or else our message is fatally flawed.

During the course of our Christian life, from conversion to heaven, we will continually be mourning every day as we are convicted of daily sin. We know that the sins of Christians cannot bring them back under condemnation (Romans 8:1-2). However, we know the Holy Spirit will correct the erring believer and draw them once more to the place of repentance.

Take heart believer, if you have once more stumbled, your Saviour is calling you back to Himself where you will find forgiveness and comfort. You will be welcomed with love that shall overflow in your heart by the Holy Spirit. Come and come now.

Come to the Savior now,
he gently calleth thee;
in true repentance bow,
before him bend the knee;
he waiteth to bestow
salvation, peace and love,
true joy on earth below,
a home in heav’n above.

Come to the Savior now,
ye who have wandered far;
renew your solemn vow,
for his by right you are;
come, like poor wand’ring sheep
returning to his fold;
his arm will safely keep,
his love will ne’er grow cold.

Come to the Savior, all,
whate’er your burdens be;
hear now his loving call,
“cast all your care on me.”
Come, and for ev’ry grief
in Jesus you will find
a sure and safe relief,
a loving Friend and kind.
– John Wigner

What Kind Of Poverty?

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

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives”
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ 
But you do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Revelation 3:17 (NIV)

In the beatitude in Matthew 5:3 Jesus is speaking about people who are spiritually destitute. They have come to the end of themselves and sense that they have nothing to commend them to God. They are in a place of utter helplessness and recognize they are totally bankrupt in God’s presence. This is the place where everyone must arrive at prior to becoming acceptable to God.

If we feel we have any redeeming qualities, we will never look to Christ for redemption (Revelation 3:17). I recall a friend telling me about an experience his daughter had while attending university. My friend’s daughter invited a girlfriend to attend a varsity evangelistic meeting where the late John Stott was preaching. As the daughter was listening to the preacher, she realized her friend was muttering something under her breath. Listening intently to her friend she heard her repeating, “I’m not as bad as all that.”. The young lady was struggling with the idea she was possibly bankrupt in the presence of a holy God. As long as she resisted the biblical description of humanity apart from Christ, she would not seek the Good Shepherd.

For those of us who are believers (Matthew 5:3) we see ourselves as citizens of the “kingdom of heaven”. We have had the good news (Gospel) related to us, our broken hearts have been bound up, we are freed from the captivity of sin (Isaiah 61:1).

Christian rejoice today in the knowledge that the Saviour’s death paid the price in full for your sins and His righteousness has been given to you. You appear as holy before God as His beloved Son. Indeed, as one of the redeemed, you now have as much right to be in heaven as Jesus Himself. Through all eternity we shall sing the praise of Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim—
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.
– E. Hall

Viewing Eternity

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, 
looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 
‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open 
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed,
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’
Then he fell on his knees and cried out,
‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ 
When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 7:55-56; 59-60 (NIV)

One of the most saintly women I have ever known lay dying. They were a very musical family and one day the family were gathered around her bed singing her favourite hymns as she struggled for every breath of air. Suddenly she interrupted the singing and said out loud, “Oh…I’ve got to go now!” and breathed her last.

What or who did she see? The family and I believe she saw the angels who were  coming to carry her home to heaven.

Our Bibles give us views into the death of several of the Lord’s saints. From those descriptions we can make good assessment of the last scenes in the lives of various believers in our own day. This is such a comfort to the family around their loved one and rightly so. To witness time and eternity come together as the saint finishes their earthly journey and steps into the Father’s eternal home is an inspiring and sacred moment.

However, believers should view death as an enemy according to 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 (NIV)

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Death is a mark of the curse as we see from Genesis 3. Death shall come even to the godliest of saints. However, in the case of believers, all death can do is give them more of Jesus than they have ever experienced in this life. While death temporarily separates believers left behind from the one who passed, the reunion with those already gone before and the glorious sight of Jesus Himself more than compensates.            

Viewing eternity from here is second only to being there and taking in all the unimaginable glories to be seen there. Keep a light grip on the things of time and always be ready to let go in order to take hold of the eternal realities that are to be enjoyed forever.

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When the praise of heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

The User’s Guide To Life

“Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.”
Psalm 119:35 (NIV)

Most devices we buy come with a book or booklet for the new owner to read. The book is written by the company who designed the product and so they know best how to get the most out of the product. However, many of us try using the item prior to reading the owner’s manual. For example, when we buy a car, we already know enough to look for the ignition switch, the transmission lever, the driver’s seat adjustment and so on. Some of us must confess we have owned a new car for months and never laid eyes on the car’s manual in the glove compartment.

The same odd behaviour prevails when it comes to how we live, plan our future, make important decisions and so on. It is sad but many of us do not consult the “User’s Guide To Life”—our Bible. It is not often that a church business meeting sees the chairperson call a halt to the discussion, open the Bible, and say that the portion about to be read clearly speaks to the matter at hand. This procedure of bringing Scripture into the discussion requires a person with a solid knowledge of Scripture. Various places in the Gospels we see Jesus using the Bible to address an issue. For example, He used Scripture very effectively to answer Satan’s temptations.

If you are facing a serious issue, it is time to consult with a leader in your Christian community and ask them to direct you to appropriate Scripture that speaks clearly to your specific issue or else speaks to it in principle.

Finding answers in the Bible brings “delight” according to the Psalmist. There is always joy in fulfilling our created purpose. It just makes sense to learn why God made us and His teaching on the way to live, the resources He will provide us along the way, how to be restored when we stumble, and a glimpse into our eternal homeland.

Do you treasure your Bible as you should? Do you open it daily and read some of its contents to inspire and give you hope for the day? Is it truly your “user’s guide for life”? Every time you read a portion of the written Word look for the living Word and the Holy Spirit shall enable you to see wonderful things. Pray the following brief prayer just before opening your Bible and may you be especially blessed today as you read its sacred pages.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law”

Psalm 119:18 (NIV)

Holy Bible, book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came,
Mine to teach me what I am;

Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward;

Mine to comfort in distress,
Suffering in this wilderness;
Mine to show by living faith,
Man can triumph over death;

Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou holy book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine