Archive for May, 2021

The Beatitudes Part 7: Let’s Wage Peace

Note: This post is part seven in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, said “My peace I give unto you…”  To be a peacemaker is to be a Christ emulator.  Peacemakers bridge estranged relations.  Christ’s primary mission in coming was to bridge the greatest gulf of estrangement.  Note, “There is one mediator between God and man…”

Tolstoy, the Russian sage, said: “Man is meant for happiness and this happiness is in him.” Happiness is often spoken of as coming into our lives.  It actually comes out of our lives.

Peacemakers are happy people.  Christ promised they would be “Blessed…”  Happiness is a by-product of a job well done.

Many people seem to be in a living hell because they do not have the peace Christ promised. A young man said, “I made myself a god and my god let me down.”  Such persons lack personal happiness because they lack personal peace and therefore cannot live as peacemakers. To be a peacemaker one must be at peace.  Right relationship precedes right result.

In the 200 plus year history of America there has never been a generation that did not know war; never a generation that had only peace.

Peace has been described as “that glorious, brief moment in history when everyone stops to reload.”

Those who work for right relationships show they are in the right relation with Christ.  Have you ever seen a miracle?  Oh, yes you have.  Have you ever taken a seed the size of a sharp pencil point and buried it under soil thousands of times its weight?  Give it the right soil, light, water, and nutrients and watch what happens.  That little seed will respond against the odds.

Every spring hopeful people bury little seeds to struggle against the odds.  Every spring, hopes struggle against the odds and emerge to bloom.

James, the son of Mary and Joseph wrote:  “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.”  (James 3:18 LB)  The peace principle prevails against odds as does the seed.

Personal peace comes by establishing a right relationship with the Prince of Peace.  Heaven is waging peace with you.

Kipling said:  “We are like islands and we shout to each other across seas of misunderstanding.  Like ancient Athens, Queen of the Sea, we need to send out our ships to all regions.  The vessels of peace sail well.  It is a heavenly breeze that propels them.”

The Beatitudes Part 6: Needed – A Pure Heart

Note: This post is part six in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


On a mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee Jesus shared with His followers what we call the Beatitudes. Notice, they are the “Be” attitudes, not the “do” attitudes. In this series, we will explore other verses, but now let’s focus on “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

The word translated “pure” was used, meaning free from soil or stain, free from hypocrisy or a double standard, morally free from stain and shame. We must avoid the tyranny of a self divided. 

The pure in heart are without hypocrisy; without a secret motive.  Christ often appealed for us to examine our motives. 

There are three temptations regarding impure motives:
The temptation 1) to shine, 2) to whine, and 3) to recline.

On the breastplate of the High Priest was an item known as the Thummim.  It signified integrity.  The High Priest could not enter the Holy of Holies to stand before God and seek His will unless He was wearing it, signifying his purity of heart–his integrity.  As he wore it over his heart, so our hearts must be pure if we are to approach God.

The Greek word translated heart, kardia, in the time of Jesus was the term used as a synonym for the total person.  

The term “see” meant to know and experience God. To have a pure heart is to better experience God. Furthermore, to see means to commune with and explore.

In Bible times monarchs were constantly in danger.  Only one person could go in to see the king without being invited and undergoing a security check.  The prime minister was chosen because of his friendship and loyalty to the king.  It was known he always had the king’s interest in heart.  Thus, he had instant access when he desired it.  The spiritually pure in heart have access to the throne of God in prayer.

This Beatitude teaches us that a person who has only the welfare of God, that is a pure heart, can enter His presence at any time in prayer.

“Every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” (I John 3:3)

Check out your heart, that is, do you have only God’s welfare in heart and best interest in mind. That gives you a pure heart, affording you a good prayer life.

The Beatitudes Part 5: Mercy Sought, Mercy Found

Note: This post is part five in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


Jesus Christ whispered in the ear of the young emerging church and the world overheard Him speak of being “Blessed…”  These eight sayings are called Beatitudes, meaning beautiful attitudes.  The first four deal with initial attitudes.  The last four with the productivity of a life evidencing these attitudes.

Blessed is His promise.  It is a happiness, not dependent on circumstances, but character based on Christ’s teaching.

Eudaemonics is the science of happiness.  The definition implies there are certain scientific principles involved in happiness.  Laws of chemistry and math are fixed.  Their inflexibility has been demonstrated for years.  Likewise, the Beatitudes and their result are just as inflexibly fixed.  Protest and pretense won’t keep 2+2 from equaling 4.  Resistance and refutation won’t change the result of the Beatitudes.  Jeremiah 31:33 teaches us that God’s laws governing conduct and consequent happiness are fixed in hearts.

The Beatitudes are based on the presupposition that the world does not owe you happiness, nor can it grant it.  Only God can.  Compliance with His guidelines enables us to enjoy it.

If you are waiting for conditions around you to produce happiness, don’t hold your breath.  Latin for happiness, “fortuous,” is based on our fortune.  Christ’s kind of happiness is not dependent upon fortune, but fact and their faithful employment.

Marcus Aurelius said that “very little is needed to make a happy life.  It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Therefore, think Christ-like thoughts.

To be merciful is to manifest compassion in action.  It is a word referring to going through something with another.  It speaks of entering into another’s problems with understanding and acceptance.  True mercy is genuine compassion.

Jesus spoke of right, not rights.  Mercy is an emotion that leads to action.  It unites us with the Father.  “Be ye tenderhearted, merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

Don’t think this means that if you show mercy to others they will show mercy to you.  They may or may not.  God is the subject of the last part of this verse.  He always shows mercy to the merciful.

Muscle, not mercy is admired. Might, not right, is applauded. To refuse to show mercy is to break down the bridge which we must all sooner or later cross. James wrote: “He shall have judgment without mercy who shows no mercy.” (James 2:13)

The song “At Calvary” has these words:  
“Mercy there was great, and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me. 
There my burdened soul found liberty–at Calvary.”

Because of this, go show mercy.

The Beatitudes Part 4: Are You Hungry and Thirsty?

Note: This post is part four in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


Jesus Christ spoke the language of the common people but He gave it an uncommon application.

The Greeks had the word “makarios.”  They used it to describe the blissful state of their gods.  The Athenians used it to describe the living conditions of the very wealthy who were thought to have no cares.  Jesus brought it down to earth and shared the secret of how such a state can be achieved by anyone regardless of their station or rank in life.

The root word from which we get our word beatitudes is the Latin “beatus,” which means blessed or happy.  The happiness of which Christ spoke is not a happy passing moment of merriment but a state of wellbeing involving an internal joyousness.

Spiritually our feelings, emotions, and sentiments are not determined by what happens around us as much as by our attitude.  You are no person’s marionette unless you allow yourself to be.

Jesus knew this, and He spoke of happiness as being given birth from within.  This is a beatitude related to ambition.  It speaks of a strong desire.

To hunger is to avidly desire something.  It signifies a need for nourishment.  A desire, fed by a painful lack, that God’s will be done.  Athletes hunger to win.

To thirst is a yearning, a passionate desire for spiritual good.  The present tense of the participle is used meaning a constant and habitual state.

Jesus chose two basic appetites to dramatize our desires.  David described his desire for the Lord as being like a little deer who is thirsty for water.

Every person has an appetite.  To fill our appetite with improper substance is to defeat our potential happiness.

The Prophet Jeremiah described the perverted spiritual thirst of his day by speaking of leaky cisterns.  A cistern is a water container.  Jeremiah said, “My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

Our unsatisfiable appetite must be for righteousness, present tense, continuous action. 

Happy is the person whose most intense desire is to enter into a right relationship with God.  Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden.

A person who is righteous desires to see the cause of righteousness vindicated.  Our entire being should be fuel for His fire.

Righteousness, translates the Greek “dikaiosune” which means “to be right with God.” Only when you have a craving ambition above all else to be right with God will you be happy.

“I have been reading the Beatitudes,” Lincoln said to a friend, “And can at least claim one of the blessings therein unfolded.  It is the blessing pronounced upon those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

How is your appetite?

The Beatitudes Part 3: Enjoy Your Inheritance

Note: This post is part three in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


A person is not meek because he can’t help himself, but because he is confident in eternal resources.

The Hebrew word for meek “anaw” depicts a malleable person, one who out of love is open to divine guidance, submitted to authority.

The Greek word for meek “praus” was used to describe a horse who was reined and can be led.

It was also used of Roman soldiers who were under the control of their superior officers. They were described by this term indicating they were under control of their commander.

When used relating to a Christian, it means they are under the control of Jesus.

The promise is they shall be blessed.  Adjusted and stable are the persons who bring their drives under the control of Jesus.  Blessedness lies in character.

Reality reveals that not everyone is going to have an abundance of physical goods.  Therefore, we must either find a different basis for happiness or have a lot of unhappy people.  Attitude is the arena in which the battle for happiness is won or lost.

Meek means to calm that which is irritated or excited and bring it under control.  It enables one to avoid a hot head or cold feet by maintaining a warm heart for Christ.  It refers to mastery by the Master.

To be meek is to be under Jesus’ control, to be teachable, coachable, responsive to His rules.

It is not an encouragement to cowering conduct. “Moses was very meek, above all the men which were the face of the Earth.” (Numbers 12:3) 

Jesus was “meek and lowly of heart.” (Matthew 11:28-30)  Yet, He clashed with the Pharisees until the sparks flew. 

Such persons inherit the earth. The word translated “inherit” means to enjoy.  If persons possess certain legal rights, they enjoy them.  To inherit the earth is to possess it.  To possess it is to enjoy it.  In light of this the spiritually meek are wealthy. I own: Jekyll Island, the Montana mountains, Marshes in Louisiana, the craggy coast of Oregon…. My inheritance has made me wealthy.

What one inherits represents the work of another.  What the Christian inherits is what is Christ’s.  When you have Christ in your heart, you have what is Christ’s. 

The meek, that is, persons who are Jesus-tamed, are Jesus-tempered and have the ability to enjoy their inheritance, the earth. Enjoy your inheritance today.