4

Have you heard the song out of Bethel Music called Spirit Move? Written by Kalley Heiligenthal, Amanda Cook, and Brian Johnson, its words caught my attention.

The chorus goes like this.

We are fixed on this one thing

To know Your goodness and see Your glory

We’re transformed by this one thing

To know Your presence and see Your beauty

I found my spirit in love with this song, but my mind resisting it.

Do you know what I mean?

My spirit told my mind, it’s OK, but my mind kept saying, but… but… but…

You see, my mind went to Romans 12:2, a verse that took hold of me about a decade ago, and has not yet let go.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2 NASB

God spoke to me directly about this verse. He taught me that if did not look like Jesus it was because my mind needed to be enlightened. And more than that, if I wanted to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, I would need to stop believing some lies. He showed me that, to the extent that I was not like Jesus, I would have to change what I believed and thought. That was the path to true transformation.

So my mind tripped over the second couplet in this chorus.

We’re transformed by this one thing

To know Your presence and see Your beauty

It kept shouting - we’re not transformed by the presence, we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds.

You see, my mind wanted control of all transformational activity. Ben, it told me, if you are going to be transformed, you’ll have to study and learn, and feed ME! I want INFORMATION and I’ll get you looking just like Jesus.

For the record, that is not how the revelation came a decade back. It was not a food fest for my brain. It was a sweet revelation that I didn’t—couldn’t be walking with perfect theology, because I didn’t look much like Christ.

Tonight I was reminded of a revelation that God blessed me with nearly three decades ago. I still remember it, because I was in the back yard raking leaves. God started to speak to me about this very well know passage in 1 John.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. - 1 John 3:2 NASB

The revelation that struck amidst the fall leaves was simple.

When we see Jesus, we become like Him.

There it is again. Transformation. But this time it’s not mind, it’s vision.

God spoke to my heart that day if you can see Me you’ll be transformed into my image.

Today, on my ride home from work, God spoke once again. These are not two separate means of growth. It the same thing.

Think again of Isaiah and his encounter in the throne room. (Isaiah 6) His mind was renewed as he saw the beauty and magnificence of the Lord. His vision of holiness completely renewed his mind. When He heard the voice of the Lord, his will was conformed to the Lord’s. When he pressed into the presence of the Father, he found himself acutely aware of his shortcomings and in complete agreement with His will.

He was transformed by this one thing - knowing His presence and seeing His beauty.

So my spirit was right, and my mind has relaxed, and now I can fully embrace this wonderful worship song.

With no further ado,

Spirit Move

Written by Kalley Heiligenthal, Amanda Cook, and Brian Johnson

Verse 1
I feel it in my bones You’re about to move
I feel it in the wind You’re about to ride in
You said that You would pour Your Spirit out
You said that You would fall on sons and daughters

Pre-Chorus
So like the rain come drench us in love
Let Your glory rush in like a flood

Chorus
We are fixed on this one thing
To know Your goodness and see Your glory
We’re transformed by this one thing
To know Your presence and see Your beauty

Verse 2
I can see it now Your kingdom come
I can hear it now the sounds of Heaven
You said that if we ask we’ll receive
We are asking for the greater measure

Pre-Chorus 2
So like the rain come drench us in love
Let Your power rush in like a flood

Bridge
So come and blow on through
Spirit move, we’re ready for You
To come and blow on through
Come and do what only You can do


Thanks to Bethel Music for these lyrics.

Thank you for stopping in today.

Shine where you're screwed in,

Ben

3

Today would be a great day for renewing our minds. Don’t you think?

Ponder with me this story from the life of Elisha.

Jehoram, son of Ahab and Jezebel, is king of Israel. Due to some hard feelings he wants to go to war with Moab. He decides it would be best to go with great force. So he gets in touch with Jehoshaphat the king of Judah and the king of Edom who will remain unnamed.

They head out together with all the king's horses and all the king's men. For some reason, they take a circuitous route through a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Seven days they march until they are in danger of death by dehydration.

Jehoshaphat, the only one of the three kings who really knows God, asks if they happened to have a man of God along with them.

Enter Elisha, God's man of faith and power.

I’m not sure why he is there since there is no love lost between him and Jehoram, but, in any case, there he is.

He asks for a singer and gets a worship set going.

It wasn’t long before He has the mind of the Lord.

The Lord says to Elisha, fill this valley with ditches. You won’t see wind or rain, but I’ll fill them with water by morning. You and all your cattle will drink.

Oh, and in case you think this is a big deal - it’s not. It’s simple for me. I’ll also defeat Moab for you while I’m in the neighborhood.

OK - that’s a rough paraphrase, but my takeaway for today is that last bit. Here’s the way the New King James puts it.

"And this is a simple matter in the sight of the LORD; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. - 2 Kings 3:18 NKJV

Seven days without water with an army and herds of cattle and horses dying of thirst and the Lord God says “this is a simple matter.”

How bad is your thirst? How desperate are your circumstances? How far are you from the end of all the hope you can see?

This even works if your country is in a mess, politically!

Hear the word of the Lord, today.

This is a simple thing in the sight of the LORD.

I want you to put that in your mouth so that you can hear it.

Say it out loud, really!

This is a simple thing in the sight of the LORD.

We must have our minds renewed.

This is a simple thing in the sight of the LORD.

I’m going to keep this on my lips, and in my mind today, and probably tomorrow too. Because I need to hear it and hear it, and hear it, until it transforms one more part of me into the image of Christ.

That’s how it works. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are renewed by meditating on His word, His Truth. We must keep our minds from focusing on our problems. Let's get them focused on the LORD, who says, “This is a simple thing in my sight.

Ben NelsonThanks for checking in today.

See you again soon,

Ben

2

Many Waters - SoS header

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning on her beloved?

Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.

Song of Songs 8:5 NASB

Have you ever seen the movie Working Girl?  Tess (played by Melanie Griffith) is basically working in a secretarial pool for an executive (played by Sigourney Weaver.) I won’t retell the story here, but it’s a classic love story, in Cinderella style, where Tess ends up with Jack Trainer (played by Harrison Ford.)

There is a scene at the end of the movie, where Tess and Jack return to the secretarial pool and all the girls in the room stand up and applaud Tess, who broke through the glass ceiling of her cubicle and “made it.”

Here in the Song, we see the Shulamite and her Groom return to the place He found her. The place she caught her first glimpse of the Shepherd King. The very place where her heart first cried out:

Draw me after you and let us run together! - Song 1:4

The place where she realized her own unworthiness:

I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.

Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.

Song 1:5-6

In classic Cinderella style our maiden has returned to her home town and now those who knew her when… see her in her full beauty and maturity.

We understand there is a step of faith that moves us from darkness to light, from the kingdom of satan to the kingdom of His Dear Son. But after that step there is a life to live.

The life of a disciple of Jesus, the life of the bride of Christ, is a life of growing more and more beautiful in His sight. He sees you—end from the beginning—as a beauty the day He first welcomes you, but it has to work itself out in days and weeks, months and years.

Growing in Christ never ends. We don’t arrive until we arrive—if you get my drift—when He welcomes us to our eternal home. And frankly, I don’t expect heaven is even arrival. I’m pretty sure it’s not an eternal vacation. Our life and discipleship here on earth is a training ground for what is to come. But I digress.

Here’s the point - her friends see this magnificent couple walking toward them, and it take their breath away. What happened to our friend, the one we grew up with, the one we knew. Could this be her?

The transformation that comes from abiding in the vine, from dwelling in the secret place, touches everything about you. It’s undeniable. Everyone who knew you when, will know you’ve changed.

The change comes from the inside out.

Sin removed and replaced with righteousness.

Guilt removed and replaced with honor.

Shame removed and replace with glory.

Pride removed and replaced with humility.

These transformations can’t be hidden.

They see the new you coming up from the wilderness, victorious, leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus.

And all the glory belongs to Him. These are changes you can’t make yourself, and no fairy godmother could take your souls and make it beautiful. Only the precious blood of Jesus can bring forth such a miracle as your transformation.

Thank you Jesus!

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

Don’t hide what Jesus made.

Ben

===

Encounters With JesusHave you read my new book, Encounters With Jesus - Forty days in the life of Jesus through the eyes of those He touched?

If so, I would really appreciate it if you would write a review on Amazon.com. It would be a huge help in getting this work in front of others.

If not, get yours today. You'll see the stories of Jesus through new eyes, and it will change the way you think about the gospels forever.

It's available in paperback or kindle versions.

2

7082999379_5de55b6738_z

His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!

Song of Songs 8:3 ESV

We’ve seen this sentiment before. Our dear bride repeats her desire for her beloved’s embrace. At the beginning of her relationship with the Shepherd King, she calls out for his enfolding presence.

His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me! - Song of Songs 2:6 ESV

We have seen her grow in so many ways.

In the beginning her own filth distressed her. She was afraid to leave the chamber and run through the hills and mountains with Him. She faltered time and time again.

Now she is confident in her relationship with Him. She see’s herself as a partner, calling on Him to act on behalf of others, and ever suggesting the desires of her own heart to Him. In the beginning, her only desire was to have Him for herself, but what has blossomed in her is a desire to see others—all others—bound to Him and His love.

What has not changed is the Shepherd King’s care for her.

As I said nearly two years ago, when we came across the first instance of this verse, His left hand behind her head, speaks of His unseen protection and care for her. His working of all things—ALL THINGS—to and for her GOOD. His right hand embracing and holding her, out there where she can see it, are the tangible ways the Lord cares for her.

She has grown, and the Lord’s love stands unchanged.

Yoked

This image of the Lords arms encircling us makes me wonder if this is not, in fact, the yoke of the Lord.

The Lord says in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

The Lord calls us to yoke ourselves to Him. What if that yoke is actually His embrace.

I look at the burden Jesus bore, and think, how can He say His burden is light? Yoking myself to Jesus would be sharing His burden - wouldn’t it? Talk about unequally yoked! My sin simply adds to His burden, and how am I to bear all that?

I feel like the maiden in the fifth verse of the song, “I am very dark, but lovely.” I’m filthy with sin, but He somehow desires me.

But His embrace has changes us both, the maiden and me. Through His unseen care for us, and His lavish demonstrations of love for us, I—we—are changed. He has washed me in His precious blood and filled me with His own Spirit. He has given me a new heart, and written His law—His love—upon it.

As I get close to Him, His left arm reaches around the back of my head, out of sight, and His right arm reaches around to encircle me. He has yoked Himself to me by the power of His embrace.

He has declared me worthy—by virtue of His own righteousness and His cleansing blood—to be His partner in life—His co-laborer in the harvest—His joint heir, possessor of all that belongs to Him.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? - Romans 8:32 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, - Ephesians 1:3 ESV

Oh how I love the Lord’s embrace.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Don’t forget to shine.

Ben

2

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace... - Galatians 1:15 NASB

It is easy to believe that our past disqualifies us for service before the Lord.

We know the apostle Paul’s history – murderer and enemy of Christians – Terrorist.

And yet his history goes back further.

Paul says he was set apart from his mother’s womb.

God has works that He prepared for Paul, and the fact that he was killing Christians in front of their family members did not disqualify him from taking up his cross and following Jesus.

Grace is so powerful that it strips away all the filth – all of our hellish history, and takes us back to Gods original plan.

I don’t care what your past looks like.

  • Murderer – you're not disqualified.
  • Drunkard – you're not disqualified.
  • Terrorist – you're not disqualified.
  • Divorcee - you're not disqualified.
  • Homosexual - you're not disqualified.
  • Drug addict - you're not disqualified.
  • Alcoholic - you're not disqualified.
  • Child molester - you're not disqualified.
  • Grew up in the church and never did anything with your faith - you're not disqualified.

Today is your day. Stop letting your past keep you from giving what’s left of your life to the Lord. It’s not too late to do great things for God.

Grace is so powerful it can transform the worst of us, and give us the life God made us to live.

Paul – after growing to a mature adult mired in religion and terrorizing the Christians of the early church – was transformed by grace.

He healed the sick, raised the dead, founded and pastured churches, made disciples – oh, and wrote letters that changed the world.

What is the rest of your story?

Ben NelsonBen

 

 

4

The Pharisees made great sport of hassling Jesus about the disciples. These guys were not trained theologians. Most of them were tradesmen.

Imagine being out on a first century fishing vessel all night long. I am thinking there was probably not a lot of ceremony surrounding the eating of their supper.

But now that they were following a leader who played in the big leagues of religious thought, they were under the magnifying glass.

Let me be clear here – Jesus didn't set out to reform religion – He came to reconcile individuals and nations to their maker. [Tweet This] But He rocked the religious world, because religion is big business, and when you put it in the hands of the common man, you are making waves in pharisaical wading pools.

Today I find Jesus and the boys in Jerusalem and the Pharisees are picking on them once again.

Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. - Matthew 15:2 NASB

Jesus puts it right back over to them with a question of His own.

And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? - Matthew 15:3 NASB

Then He takes them to task about not caring for their parents by ‘giving to God’, which, since they were ‘God’ employee’s (aka they worked for the organization they gave to) was really keeping the resources for themselves.

Then He really brings it home, and this is where I find the Word correcting me today.

And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. - Matthew 15:6 NASB

Hear this in the New King James:

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. - Matthew 15:6 NKJV

Now we know that …

... the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12 NASB

But when we build constructs in our lives to protect our sin, or preserve self, we strip the Word of its power.

We strip the Word of its ability to change us.

We strip the Word of its ability to change others when we share it with them.

We are actually blinded to the intent of the Word, and like the Pharisees, we use the word to protect our pet projects, and to attack those who threaten our little society.

The Word of God is trying to transform you to the image of Christ. It has the power to change you. (bet your spouse wishes they had that power)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2 NASB

But when you use the Sword of the Spirit to attack and accuse your brothers and sisters – or even sinners and outsiders – you will find that rather than getting more and more like Christ, your love grows cold. You will find that your prejudices increase, your hate alarm is ringing off the wall, and your pride meter bursts through the roof.

You have stripped the Word of its transforming power!

It does not have to be this way. Let the Word act as a mirror first. Let it have it wonderful work in your life, then – and only then – you might hear the Spirit of God giving you the ability to HELP others.

Paul said it this way:

The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, (who oppose themselves – KJV) if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB

Don’t strip the Word of its power today. Let’s let it have it transforming work in us. Let’s hear it. Let’s do it. We can be hearers and doers, becoming more like Christ today.

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for stopping by today.

Shine someplace.

Ben

We have been poking about the edges of 1 Corinthians 15, gleaning some wonderful gospel truth.

Today I want to do a quick rescan of the passage and notice the “proof” Paul offers for the gospel, and specifically for the resurrection, since that is where he is planning on spending the rest of what we call Chapter 15.

Proof #1 ~ The transformation in the lives of the Corinthian believers:

the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

We have looked in-depth at these effects of the gospel already, but they also act as proof, a validation of the veracity of the Word. The gospel was received, and now the Corinthian believers stand, they are saved, and they hold fast.

They have been transformed, and this is the first proof, the power to change man’s life. I am not the man I was, and by this I know that Jesus lives.

There is a schmultzy old hymn we used to sing when I was a kid called “He Lives.” Though I never much like the music, I love the words. Here is the chorus.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart. ~ Alfred H. Ackley

I know Christ is alive because – well – He lives!

Proof #2 ~ Hundreds of fulfilled prophecies:

...according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4

We looked at a few yesterday, but I would refer you to a couple of my Christmas posts if you want to dig a little deeper.

My post “One more Christmas Gift” list more than 25 Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled in the Life of Jesus.

My post “GF Handel’s Messiah – Lyrics” has the entire libretto for Handel’s “Messiah”  the text of which is 100% scriptures, and I have tagged it with references for easy access.

Proof #3 ~ Eye witnesses:

and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:5-8

1)    Cephas (a.k.a. Peter) ~ I love that Peter is listed first. He says, "first Peter," and clearly this is talking about after Christ met Mary in the garden and went to the Father to present His blood, but the fact that Peter is touched, since Peter was left hurting after the last week’s events.

I suppose it may be that Paul was not counting women at all, since in courts of the day, women were likely not considered. (sad)

2)    The 12 ~ Well – I would assume the name “The 12” was more of a moniker than an actual count, since Peter we already know about, and Judas was dead.

3)    Greater than 500 at one time. Hard to deny this testimony. And Paul points out that many of these are still alive at the writing of this letter.

4)    James ~ This was referring to His half-brother, not the son of Zebedee. This James always interested me. We know that Jesus’ half brothers didn't follow Him during His ministry, but now, risen from the dead, these are guys who could not be moved. James and Jude were both New Testament contributors, and we learn in the book of  Acts that James became the main leader of the early Church.

5)    Apostles ~ It interests me that Paul gives us Apostles in addition to “the 12.” Pretty clearly (to me anyway) demonstrates that Apostleship was not dependent on being a disciple.

6)    Paul ~ Finally talks about His own meeting with Jesus. The story of His meeting on the road to Damascus is told and retold (3 times total) in the book of Acts, but I believe those 1,000 days in the wilderness of Arabia, Paul was receiving from the Lord the gospel that he never did stop preaching.

Proof #4 ~ The Graces or gifts given to Paul:

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

In particular we see Paul’s transformation from Christian killer to in his own assessment (which was sponsored by the Holy Spirit) the hardest working apostle to walk the earth.

Pretty compelling proof! Any lawyer would love to defend a case like this.

Christians, I hope this stirs up your confidence. The gospel stands incontestable.

Do not fear

Go and preach it today.

Ben NelsonSee you again soon.

Ben

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

(Matt 5:9 – NASB)
Today I would like to focus on this idea of peace. What peace is Jesus referring to? Is it simply tranquility, or the cessation of hostility? Is it some sort of détente like we had with the former USSR when they could no longer afford to maintain a cold war?
Consider what the father of John the Baptist said upon the birth of this man of God.
“Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NKJV)
And again in the next chapter in regard to Jesus Himself: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
The peace we are talking about here is the peace that Jesus offers, the ending of hostilities between God and man. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that the mind set on the flesh is actively hostile toward God. This war ends not when God ignores our sin, but when we surrender our lives to him.
With the coming of the Prince of Peace, Jesus, we can finally put down the weapons of our warfare against God: our hate, our rebellion, our self-righteousness, and we can take up the cause of Christ. We can become peacemakers – those who work to bring this same peace to others.
Once you know the peace that Jesus offers, you will never be content to sit by and let those around you wage useless war against the Lord of Hosts.
If you don’t know this peace for yourself, you can find it today. Call upon the name of Jesus. These beatitudes we have been looking at paint a great picture of the way to enter a relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Talk to Jesus about it. (He can hear you wherever you are)
  • Admit your own poverty of spirit, and that you need God.
  • Confess and forsake all your sin. Tell Him about every sin you can remember doing, and ask Him for forgiveness.
  • Meekly submit your will – your desires, your plans – to Him.
  • Pursue righteousness and integrity in everything you do, again with His help.
  • Offer mercy and forgiveness to those who owe you or have hurt you.
  • Ask Jesus to purify your heart, and press into more and more purity, by meditating on His word. You are made clean through the God's Word, The Bible.
  • Then you will become a peacemaker too, and you experince His peace, you will want to draw others to His side as well.
Ben NelsonThanks for reading. If you have talked to Jesus about these things, tell me about it. You can message me on face book, or comment here, or tell a Christian you know. Get plugged into a church, and begin to live in His word the Bible. We live by the daily bread of His voice.
Ben

This is an article I wrote a couple years ago, but it fits in with what I have been blogging on lately. 

I am thinking about how important relationship is to the Lord. We as "born again" Christians are quick to say that Christianity is a relationship not a religion. This could not be more right! God is all about relationship. Jesus sums up God's whole law with two relationship sayings "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength" and "love your neighbor as you love yourself." (Luke 10:27)

I know some Christians who feel like as long as they are doing OK with God, their relationship to other Christians is not so important. They can be at outright war with other brothers and sisters in Christ, not speaking to one another for years, and still consider themselves to be in a good spiritual place with the Lord.
Jesus said some things that militate against this idea. Consider this:
Mark 11:25-26  "And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you; Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
These two scriptures take away any excuses we may have. In Mark Jesus said if you have anything against anyone, forgive them, or you can consider your forgiven status forfeit. Ok I can live with this because it is about me. If I have a problem with someone I get it, I need to make it right.
But what about this gem from the Sermon on the Mount? Now it is my problem if someone has something against me. WOW, it sounds like God is really serious about us getting our relationships right. In both of these cases Jesus has us in the posture of approaching God, with prayers and sacrifices, and Jesus would rather we stop the service, and fix the relationships. He did not say, Jot down a note to call so and so when you get home, but he said leave your gift, go be reconciled, and then do your business with God.
John said it this way: 1John 4:20-21 "If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loves God love his brother also."
It is time to do this relationship thing right. [Tweet This]
BenThanks for reading!
Ben



Peace wall, Belfast - photo credit - http://www.flickr.com/photos/a11sus/460787247/

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousnessMatt 5:6

The next step in God’s 8 step program is to pursue righteousness with the same intensity as a hungry man pursues food, or as one who is parched goes after water. Hear this. It does not promise this blessed life to someone who tries to be good, who pulls themselves up by their boot straps, who just grits their teeth and does what is right.
Rather this one who is hungry to do the right thing. To the hungry, there is no priority higher than food. We all get hungry sometimes. I walked in the house the other day after a long day at the office, and I was starving. I had not had a bite to eat since – oh – it had to be like 2 hours!!!!! Can you imagine my hunger? 2 whole hours without food! I was starving. And when I found out diner was not on the table, well you can just imagine the ruckus that ensued. Hmmm, not really. But I bet you have been there. This is not that hunger. One who is hungry has a determination and seriousness about him in his quest for food. Hunger cannot be ignored.
What if we actually pursued righteousness, sought after it like hidden treasure. What if we searched for opportunities to increase righteousness as though it was good for us, as if it was to our advantage – oh and just for the record it is to our advantage. I am not talking bout some strange self-righteousness that makes us feel superior. No way!. But how about taking your honesty to a new level, or how about the way you do your job, or your homework, or your chores, or duties – all of it. The mark of a Christian in the work place should be unimpeachable integrity. I promise if you will quiet your spirit for a while and mull this over the Lord will show you places to find more opportunities to do right. Don’t you see, as we take our righteousness to the next level, we will be taking our joy to the next level as well.
This passion for righteousness nets us a life joy. The Word tells us this about the life of Jesus that He “…loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” (Heb 1:9) Jesus understood that “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) And no man ever walked in the Spirit to a greater level than Jesus did. Righteousness works itself out in peace and joy. The worst turmoil in a life is when you walk away from righteousness. Trying to cover your sin, or walk the edge between good and bad is death to all joy and peace. When you are seeking after righteousness, there is no shame, no guilt, and no fear, just peace and joy.
Jesus is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) So basically, to hunger after righteousness is to hunger for more of Jesus in your life. As we embrace Jesus, His ways, His priorities in our lives, we will walk in this peace and joy. We must put on Christ, and search for His presence in our lives as though our lives depended on it. You will never regret it!


Let's ask the Father this question: Where have you hidden opportunities for integrity in my life? [Tweet ThisLet me know what you hear (if you feel you can share.)
Don’t miss the promise for this one! Come back tomorrow.
Thanks for reading! Tell me where you have found opportunities for increased righteousness.
Ben