TODAY'S BIBLE READING
" And HE lifted up HIS eyes on HIS disciples, and said:
Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of GOD.
Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled.
Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.'
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the SON OF MAN's sake." Luke 6:20-23.
DEAR FRIENDS: In the Gospel of Luke 6:20-23, CHRIST is forewarning -- or preparing, for want of a more appropriate word, the "new and upcoming converted" for the NEW DISPENSATION of life in HIM, JESUS CHRIST.
Our Saviour, the GODMAN, the OMNISCIENT ONE, knew what was to befall HIS "followers", so HE in HIS very first sermon proceeded to let them know and explain in detail what the Principles for Kingdom residence would entail. This sermon on the Mount of Olives, was HIS longest and very first sermon, following HIS 40 days in the wilderness, where HE was "led by the spirit to be tempted of the devil". Matthew 4:1. The gospel of St. Matthew also told us from that time, that "Jesus began to preach, and to say, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17. It is quite understandable, therefore, if JESUS was preaching about a future life in A KINGDOM, there must be certain requirements for residence in this KINGDOM. Thus, HE began with the outlining of the 9 Blessings: THE BEATITUDES of what is expected of a future kingdom resident. And, from what HE shared it was truly "novel" -- these requirements of the Kingdom Resident of GOD/HEAVEN -- i.e. what a resident should expect; and how a resident should behave and/or react.
These "blessings" taught by our SAVIOUR thousands of years ago, transcend resoundingly until today, in the life of a "TRUE CHRISTIAN". I reiterate a "TRUE CHRISTIAN", because today, there are millions of CHRISTIANS, but very few TRUE CHRISTIANS. How so, if placed on a "scale of balance" or if measured as GOD had Amos measure Israel with the "plumbline" in Amos: 6:7-9 Christians would come up short -- extremely short. Why? Carnally minded!! Paul said in Romans 8:6-7 "For to be carnally minded is death ... Because the carnal mind is enmity against GOD." And, this is the major downfall of the Christian today -- the war of the flesh against the spirit. The tug of the flesh: pleasures of the world versus the righteousness of GOD.
Jesus in Matthew 5:2-12 outlined the Blessedness:happiness a Christian would experience in walking according to HIS divine will. A poor spirited believer HE said would receive the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. His opening words when HE began to preach was, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". This kingdom of which our SAVIOUR speaks was so near at hand, near enough to be touched at that time. Now that HE has been crucified, died, descended; and has now ascended back to HEAVEN, THE KINGDOM dwells within each person who believes on HIM. So, HIS promise never wans, the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is quite near, as near as surrendering ones life unto HIM; and steadfast faith-believing in HIS promises of EVERLASTING LIFE.
HE also promised the meek would inherit the earth. Humility before GOD brings inheritance in the Kingdom of heaven here on earth. It is HIS promise!! And these newly installed Kingdom residents, so meek and humble, now hunger and thirst after righteousness, the evidence of their spiritual rebirth. This food and drink can only be given by the GOD to whom they have surrendered. He alone can satisfy the longing of the spirit, that these newly converted are experiencing.
However, HE is a GOD so rich in mercy. And ,as HE is abundant in mercy, so is HE telling these new inheritors of HIS KINGDOM to show said mercy. HE promises when mercy is shown, mercy shall be obtained. Because of the new rebirth, the SPIRIT OF GOD now works within them through "divine love". Only this "divine love" can produce such a mercy to each other.
One has to be truly "saved" to emanate such GODLIKE attributes, that is why HE promised Blessed is the pure in heart for these who are "truly saved" shall see their GOD. The truly saved:true Christians, their lives have been "transformed" by the GRACE OF GOD. Though flesh and apt to sin, the "truly saved" stands before GOD -- standing a "new creature in CHRIST" in saving faith, and holiness. Thus, surrendering to GOD's HOLY SPIRIT as an ongoing process of conformation to CHRISTLIKENESS takes place. Transforming to the "image of Christ." Romans 8:29. An image which consists of "righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:24.
To arrive to such a state of grace and righteousness is to strive for peace. To be ambassadors of peace is to be Blessed with the peace of GOD. HE promised such a peace, not as the world gives, but as HE bestows. A peace -- found only in CHRIST JESUS, that surpasses the understanding of man.
Our JESUS, wanting to leave no stone unturned, not wanting HIS newly transformed Kingdom Residents to dwell in any false sense of security; and, not expecting a "backlash" from the world, proceeded to alert them to future persecutions. HE encouraged, be happy if persecuted for the pursuit of righteousness, for surely the Kingdom belongs to such who are determined to seek and walk in the "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD".
HIS teachings went even further about the expected tirades of the world against HIS believers. HE forewarned they shall be reviled and despised, persecuted, criticized and condemned, FALSELY, because of HIM -- solely, because they chose HIM as REDEEMER AND SAVIOUR. Nevertheless, HE
encouraged, "rejoice celebrate and be extremely joyous when in the pain; and suffering anguish, for great shall be the heavenly reward". Besides, the prophets before them were also ferociously persecuted.
Yes "True Believers", our REDEEMER encourages us with all of the above- mentioned BLESSINGS, as we sojourn here on earth. And, to remain heartened, let us remember HIS promise to all those who do believe, "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." Matthew 11:29.
ETERNAL FATHER: today I give you praise, and I give you thanks. I bless you most Holy Father, for you are most worthy to be praised. Thank you for grafting a sinner such as I into your Heavenly Kingdom. You promised if I only believe on the name of your SON, JESUS CHRIST, I would have everlasting life.
And, Dear God, HE promised me through my meekness, my poorness in spirit, my mourning, even my longing after righteousness, you would bless. He told me if I would show pardon and forgiveness in the form of mercy, that I too would obtain mercy from you. I am so thankful that through my faith-believing I can walk in your Righteousness, through your SON, JESUS CHRIST.
When I am persecuted and ridiculed for HIS name's sake, by false accusers, I should rejoice. Heavenly FATHER, give me the strength and courage as I take up residence in your Holy Heavenly Kingdom to withstand all persecutions, even rejoice in them. For I am reminded by my SAVIOUR, though I am in the world, I am not of the world; and because I am not of the world, the world would hate me. In this I should especially rejoice, because the world hated HIM first.
FATHER, I thank you again for accepting a sinner such as I into your heavenly kingdom, here on earth; and I pray that you would continue to allow the Comforter, which my SAVIOUR asked of you, to dwell within me and be my guide and teacher, so I will continue to walk in your DIVINE WILL.
LORD, for these and all other Blessings I thank you. Amen! Amen and Amen!!!