Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Some things are just too important to skip; today's message will deal, albeit in an abbreviated form, with three verses from the Sermon on the Mount. Two of these culminate The Beatitudes as they address what the blessed ones are; the third and last verse addresses what others do to the blessed ones.
Matthew 5.8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” In the absolute sense, there is no one that is pure in heart any more than there are any who are righteous due to their own efforts. The pure in heart are those whose heart is singularly focused on God ( Click for more )
The beatitudes were not constructed of new truth; they were merely ignored truths.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit...,” but others had said, “...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves [poor in spirit], and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7.14).
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn...,” but others had said, “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126.5).
Jesus ( Click for more )
The effects of a Sermon are not measured in the pews, but in the highways and byways where life happens. When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, Luke recorded the following: “He came down with them [the twelve apostles] and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out ( Click for more )
“Who won?” I wonder how many times this question is asked each day in our society. Hundreds, even thousands of sports contests are played each and every day and for each contest there are hundreds or thousands of fans. They are excited, some even into a near frenzy, by the drama of who will win. Add to that the hundreds and thousands of other contests (essays, gambling, bingo, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, ad infinitum) and one can begin to get a glimpse of just how obsessed we are with the question, “Who won?”
Funny thing is in all of these contests, there ( Click for more )
The beatitudes are not simple little sayings that can be taken lightly. They deserve study even though they contain simple words and phrases. Allow me to demonstrate this with today’s focus text.
Here is the actual quote: “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5.4). The word mourn is not a difficult word; it simply means to lament or be sorrowful over the loss of something or someone of great value. Typically it is associated with death and the feelings of loss that follow it. Did Jesus mean that everyone who mourns will be comforted? ( Click for more )
The Sermon on the Mount was a specific discourse delivered by Jesus Christ and probably repeated in whole or in part on numerous occasions. It contains several memorable sayings, a few of which are: 1) What we call The Lord's Prayer, 2) The Golden Rule, 3) The Parable of The Wise Man and the Foolish Man, 4) The Judge Not that you Be Not Judged text, and 5) The Beatitudes. This week's messages will focus on The Beatitudes.
The Sermon on the Mount was spoken almost two thousand years ago, and yet its truths are just as refreshing and poignant as they were when they were first uttered. ( Click for more )
The door bell rings and a man dressed as a police officer wants to come in. Having no real reason to deny his entrance, but wanting to be cautious just the same, you ask to see his badge. He says, “I don’t have one.” Question: Would you let him enter your house without further questions? Today’s message is about a badge of authority, but not one of human origins.
“So Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children ( Click for more )
It is a fact that in order for anything to go into the mind, it must be open. Little is to accomplished when someone tries to force another person to accept his/her conclusion. In fact, nothing is gained unless the other person reasons on facts and reaches a sound conclusion about those facts. Today's devotional is about a woman who had extraordinary reasoning abilities as well as a real knack for getting others to see things the way they really were.
The woman of whom we speak is frequently called the Samaritan woman. The extended record of her encounter with Jesus is found in ( Click for more )
A pair of 4:28’s should prove interesting and encouraging. At least, that is my hope for today’s devotional.
During the ministry of Jeremiah, the Lord specifically and explicitly called Israel to account. On several occasions He told His chosen nation of the doom that waited if they did not change their ways. However, at some point even the patience of God is stretched beyond that which He is willing to allow. That certainly occurred at the flood and has occurred at other times. We cite now the first 4:28 as an example. “For thus says the LORD: ‘The whole ( Click for more )
Generally Do Not Turn signs come only in the edict variety and never the request variety. The Bible, however, contains the phrase Do Not Turn in both varieties; it contains the command not to turn as well as the request not to turn. Our devotional today will take a quick look at both types of biblical phrases.
First we will examine a few commandments that say, Do Not Turn. The Proverbs writer admonished, “Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4.27). This statement takes for granted that the right way can be known and that those ( Click for more )
“Ah, the Promised Land! It is but a stone's throw away from Israel and surely unimaginable blessings must be in their future!” Such might have been the thoughts of an observer as the beleaguered descendents of Jacob came to the end of their 40 year trek leaving Egypt and approaching Canaan. Yet, there are passages that speak of a different outcome entirely; rather than blessings they speak of curses. Today's message will deal with a different promise of the Promised Land.
Here is one if the different promises that God uttered regarding the Promised Land: “I call ( Click for more )
Part of a sixties song I remember went something like this: “That's tough!” ─ “What's tough?” ─ “Life.” ─ “What's Life?” ─ “A magazine.” ─ “How much does it cost?” ─ “Fifteen cents.” ─ “I only got a nickel.” ─ “That’s tough.” ─ “What's tough?” ─ “Life.” etc., etc., etc….
Today’s message is about the issues of life, but not the magazine. It is about issues of life that are ( Click for more )
This article is written with the full recognition that there is a vast difference between being alone and being lonely. However, there was a reason that God recognized from the beginning that it was not good for man to be alone (see Genesis 2.18). There are a number or reasons for that recognition, but among them was the desire to prevent loneliness as a way of life for man.
Man is destined to periods of loneliness; there is no way around it! Even the most blessed of us have seasons in which we are, at best, visited by loneliness, or at worst, swallowed up in it. Even David, ( Click for more )
Sticky spots in the mind are hard to create; they just seem to be there without much operator input. That's what a former acquaintance of mine used to call the mental repositories where he stored memories that he recalled seemingly at will. However, those sticky spots can be accentuated or augmented by certain actions. Today's message concerns an event that is worth remembering and actions that the people of God took to insure that a sticky spot was created in the minds of all who cared.
“And those twelve stones which they [the Israelites] took out of the Jordan, Joshua ( Click for more )
It is possible to go through life without a single disappointment! Do you want to know how that can be accomplished? Simple – go through life without a single expectation! However, understand that this is not a real recommendation. Life would be entirely too miserable to bear without some expectations and the joy of seeing them fulfilled. Paul had expectations for his Christian friends in the regions of Galatia, but they failed to live up to their potential as believers. Today's focus passage documents his disappointment and the steps that would have to be taken to see their ( Click for more )
Teetering on the brink of hopelessness is a horrific, terrifying experience. I don't know the numbers, but every day men and women cross the line from little hope into despair. The land of despair is the land where heart has been lost and where reasons for living are obscured by the pain of the moment. Paul was not a victim of such depressing thoughts, but he could empathize and encourage those who were. Today's message explores some of what the Bible has to say about losing heart.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward ( Click for more )
Have you ever seen a greased pig contest at a county fair - Boys and girls together in a circular area chasing a small but deliberately greased pig? It is chaos! Every one chasing an animal that has a mind of its own only to be disappointed when they lay a hand on the poor pig who wriggles away and escapes yet another time to a more distant and deserted area of the ring. Practically speaking, if the pig didn’t tire, no one would catch the animal. Life can be like that greased pig! Let me explain.
The psalmist wrote, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out ( Click for more )
There is a reason why Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet! There is a reason why the shorter of his two books is called Lamentations [Weepings]! Our study today will examine a passage from the book of Jeremiah and just how relevant his preaching was and still is!
Here is the setting – Jerusalem was awash with sin and deception. At the head of the list of the deceivers were the priests and prophets! Their lust and pride had eaten them up! This was behind God’s decision to bring Jerusalem (as it currently existed) to a quick end. His promises of peace and prosperity ( Click for more )
“She means the world to me!” Have you ever heard anyone make this or a similar statement. Of course, this is not to be taken literally, just that the person speaking highly values the one of whom he/she is speaking. Today's devotional will consider an inspired statement containing similar language and make an application of that statement to the ordinary believer's situation.
First we will consider the biblical quotation: “For the promise that he [Abraham] would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness ( Click for more )
One two occasions, Jesus was asked very similar questions. In reality, these two questions form the basis upon which all men must make their decision about Jesus Christ. We will set the context for the two questions, quote the questions, and then make some relevant comments.
The first question was asked by a Samaritan woman. Just for context, it should be understood that the Samaritans and the Jews claimed almost no common ground. In fact, there was enough animosity between them that you could “cut it with a knife” as we sometimes say. They had two competing and conflicting ( Click for more )
Under the covenant of Moses, there was a separate priesthood that was made holy by God's decree. The Levites were not by nature any better than any other tribe of Israel (Jacob). However, there was a job that needed to be done, and God appointed this as the priestly tribe. Later, Aaron was chosen as the specific descendent of Levi through whom the priests of Israel would come. Again, it was not that there was something inherently better about Aaron's descendents than any other family of Israelites; there was a job to do, and God saw to it that there was an appointed means to do it. ( Click for more )
Generally, persistence is a good thing; we see it as a virtue. However, depending on the cause that is being pursued, we sometimes see persistence as a vice. For instance, the tiny voice that keeps saying, “Daddy, I want a drink of water!” is persistence personified, but after a while, its cuteness vanishes from sight! That must have been how it was in the case with blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10.46-52). Time and time again he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The more he cried, the more the multitudes tried to silence him. They saw persistence ( Click for more )
Sometimes we have to speak about things we don't understand. Today is one of those times for me. Just so you will see that I am speaking truthfully of such needs, we don't understand light, but we speak frequently of it. We don't understand gravity, but we assign values to it and calculate its effects routinely in our universe. We don't understand electricity, but thousands upon thousands of books have been written about how it behaves and how we can use it to our benefit. Today, I speak of something I do not understand, but it needs to be said.
Our thoughts are spurred by four ( Click for more )
The Hartsfield-Jackson airport that serves Atlanta is a busy place; in fact, it is by some statistics the world's busiest airport. Approximately one million aircraft arrivals and departures per year are only a part of the staggering statistics that go to make it such a busy, busy place. Like many other airports, when travelers enter the terminal, there are a number of displays that predict the arrival and departure times of scheduled flights. Our focus today will be on a departure of an entirely different sort.
Paul wrote, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, ( Click for more )
The comment card accurately reflected the condition of the restaurant and the service (or lack of it) that I received that evening. I don't know how my comments were received, but that was not something over which I had control. They asked for my opinion and I gave it to them; they wanted my feedback!
Feedback is always good; however, how we receive it determines its value to us! It is our tendency to reject feedback that takes issues with our actions and to place value on feedback that approves our actions. Maybe you haven't had that problem, but I think most of us have at one ( Click for more )
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