This past weekend at Coastal Church we started our series on the Beatitudes that beginsJesus’ Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5-7. In these chapters we read a collection of Jesus’s teachings that have greatly impacted, inspired and transformed people globally. In this blog, I will be mainly focusing on the first Beatitude found in Matt. 5:2: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In verse one we see Jesus observing the large crowds as he walked up the mountainside and then sitting down, which was the well-known posture of a teacher.
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” How true was that statement in 1861 when Thomas Moore wrote them, and how true it is now 160 years later. Since Moore penned those words, there has been two world wars (with numerous intermittent regional wars in between), epidemics and pandemics, economic recessions and depressions, and countless environmental disasters.
Some of you may be familiar with the reality TV show “Undercover Boss” where each episode features a top executive of a large company posing as a trainee or recruit to experience working at the ground level. The show usually concludes with the boss having a greater appreciation for the employees and the workers’ improved morale because of the validation. As a student of leadership styles and principles, I have always gleaned great lessons from the various stories to apply both personally, as well as within the ministry context of the church.
If you’ve ever felt unsure of your own abilities or how far you can go with your life – look at Paul. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve made too many mistakes, missed too many opportunities and don’t deserve redemption – you must get to know Paul. Or maybe you’ve been under such intense stress and pressure that you’re not sure if you can take it. Again, we have this example in Paul.
I suppose this topic is not just for kids or parents, but for anyone who has ever felt scared or is feeling scared about something even now as you are reading this. The key to prayer against feelings of fear, is to first know the One you are praying to, know what He has promised you, speak the name of Jesus, feed your spirit, and move toward the things in your life that bring peace.
The first thing that your spiritual enemy wants to do is to cause you to doubt your identity. He wants you to question if what God says about you is true. That’s what happened for Jesus and that is what happens for us. The devil doesn’t like it when we move from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. He will do anything in his power to erode the truth of God’s word in your life. That’s why it’s so important to follow Jesus’ example. Be rooted in prayer and in God’s word. And take hold of the authority that we have been given as God’s beloved children.
In my search for answers on how our church might not be such a statistic, I was brought back to an old book by Charles Finney called Revivals of Religion written in 1868. When Finney wrote this, the USA had experienced a revival with thousands coming to faith in Christ in a short time. In his book he listed several reasons a work of God can be stopped. This article outlines ten that stood out to me.
When we recognize that God’s grace is freely given to all that will accept it irrelevant of their status, seniority or standards, we can choose to be grateful for what God is doing in the lives of others instead of comparing it with what we have. When it comes time to receive the wage of eternal life, we can rejoice that God’s kindness surrounds those who have served him for decades and those who have served him for one year. Both receive the gift of eternal life. And it is that celebration of the grace of God in other’s lives that I believe can unlock the things that you are believing for and break you free from the trap of comparison.
Love! In English there is only one word for love. It’s a word we use a lot to express how we feel about food, fashion, friends and family. Love is something we want – and desire to experience. But the type of love we read about in John’s Gospel is different, in fact it’s divine. In the original language of the New Testament, the Greek used multiple words for love. In John 3:16, the author uses the word agape, which speaks of God’s selfless, undeserved and unconditional love towards a broken and fallen world. God loves a world that does not and cannot love Him back in return, unless He makes the move to change our hard hearts and renews a right spirit within us