Showing posts from May, 2014

Key Principle #15: Prayer (pt. 2)

Why is prayer so vital to the church and to our lives? I believe we can see three reasons, with today's devotional being the first, based on Acts10:      1. Prayer Empowers Us. Peter and Cornelius were both praying when God saw fit to empower both of them. He empowered Peter to see that indeed God shows no partiality. He was empowered to go beyond his prejudiced heart. Peter was changed by his vision and was prepared to see where God was leading him, but his vision only came because he was in prayer.      We should pray, NOT primarily so to change the world or change the heart of God. Rather, we should pray because our hearts are desperately wicked and it’s me, it is me, it is me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.      C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, said, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time-waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me."      One of the b…

Sunday: Blessed are the persecuted

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Blessed are the persecuted Why persecution follows peacemaking Why is a believer persecuted? It is for righteousness sake. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote “it is interesting…that this particular Beatitude follows immediately the reference to the peacemakers…He is persecuted because he is a certain type of person.” Not exactly a compelling reason to strive for righteousness or peacemaking is it? But it is true throughout Scripture. Why did Cain kill Abel? Why did Saul pursue David? What put Daniel in the lions’ den or the three Hebrew boys in a fiery furnace? What did Job do to deserve what happened to him? Many times in life and in the Bible, we see that doing the right thing often leads to unpopularity in the world. There is a reason for that. This is not our home, as we live in a fallen world and God has prepared us for the kingdom of heaven. Same reward, different degree S…

Saturday: Blessed are the Peacemakers

The downloadable pdf is now available on or
From Purity to Peace; from seeing God to sons of God
What is a peacemaker? Is it only helping others to be reconciled with one another? If that is all, why would that alone result in us being called children of God? The word “peacemaker” is unique to this verse. The closest comparison in the New Testament is found in Col. 1:20 as it is applied to Christ.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Did you catch it? No, not the underlined words of making peace--the other part of the verses, with words like “firstborn” “reconcile” and “the Father.” Isn’…

Friday: Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Climbing from mercy to purity
The climbing of the stairs of the beatitudes is not only stepping up for the requirements of the “blesseds” but also for the rewards. What that means is not only is it a greater challenge to seek to be pure in heart (5:8) than it is to be merciful (5:7), but the rewards also increase. We are comforted, but even better we shall inherit the earth. Better yet, we shall be filled with the righteousness of Christ by faith. Greater still, we shall receive mercy because even the righteous still need mercy. But what could be greater than that? Seeing God!
In the Old Testament, seeing God was a thing to be feared, because “no man can see God and live” (Exod. 33:20). Yet several did see God, including Moses, Isaiah, and Job said he knew that he would see God (Job 19:26, which also supports the resurrection). Seeing God was feared, yet an honor without parallel. 
Who has a pure heart?
“Well you know my heart,” some will say. Oh no I don’t! Jer. 17:9 says, “The heart is …

Thursday: Blessed are the merciful

A politician went to have his portrait done and upon seeing the results was quite upset about how his pictures had turned out. He went in and griped at the photographer and said, “These pictures do not do me justice!” “Justice?” the photographer said, “with a face like yours, you do not need justice; you need mercy.”
Question:What is justice? What is mercy?
How mercy builds upon righteousness    Previously we studied the righteousness of God, of Christ and of humans. Longing for righteousness must be followed by mercy. A poor spirit (5:3) leads to mourning (5:4) which leads to humility (5:5), followed by a desire for righteousness (5:6). We have no righteousness apart from faith.

In light of that, how can we have anything except for a merciful heart? The word for can be translated because. The verse could read, “Merciful people are happy, because they too shall obtain mercy.” They do not carry grudges or keep a score of debts. They dispense mercy, knowing that they have and shall receive…