Thursday, November 24, 2022
Thursday, November 17, 2022
"And these God-chosen lives all around
Thursday, November 10, 2022
“Blessed are the...” begins the familiar verses in Scripture called the Beatitudes. “Blessed” comes from the Greek word MAKARIOS, a “poetic word” meaning happy or good fortune. Blackaby describes this concept as a “result of divine favor” but goes much further by defining this kind of good favor comes in a relationship with “God who satisfies our soul and promises future reward.” Such divine favor comes through a relationship with Christ, and is not found elsewhere.
Sometimes reading different versions of the Scripture can give new insights into the meaning. As I am reading in The Message “You’re blessed” over and over, I begin to contemplate how I am blessed. Certainly the tangible things in life immediately come to mind, like security and shelter, then health comes next, followed by loving relationships. Soon I realize the things that come to mind are all about me! In these verses, Jesus is teaching a “new awareness” or a “new consciousness” about what really brings us happiness.
Blackaby writes that to find happiness requires we “experience the Kingdom’s inner riches, in the midst of external poverty and distress.” WHAT? Reading again in The Message I begin to see phrases that reveal the truths for a disciple of Jesus such as - “less of you - more of God” and “embraced by the One most dear” and “content with who you are”. My favorite is verse 7: "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being care-full, you find yourselves cared for.” Happiness is being in a relationship with Christ while life happens!
In the article, “An Inside Job...What Really Brings Contentment?” Martin Thielen, pastor in TN, writes, “Extensive studies have proven that external circumstances...account for only 10 percent of a person’s happiness.” He goes on to say, “contentment is an inside job.” This Jesus prescription for happiness is a “divine paradox”. The world will always be in conflict with God’s promises, and Christians must trust God to be both power and presence, even in the darkness of uncertainty. We are “blessed” especially when we find ourselves struggling and grieving, when we lay down self and disappointment, when we experience evil in the world or persecution for our beliefs. In all these times, Christ remains with us, always the comforter, always the encourager, always faithful and true. “To be happy in Jesus” brings more divine favor than I could ever need. -dho
Thursday, November 03, 2022
Ecclesiastes 11:5b The Message
There is one unique entry I always include: on the first page of each notebook ~ I make note of a Scripture that defines where I am spiritually when I start the book ~ my journey note. I often discover this to be way the Spirit is leading me during this phase of my journey with Him. Occasionally, I also add a quote or commentary that speaks to His Word. When the book is complete, when no more empty pages remain, I mark the front with the beginning and ending dates and begin another. Looking back I can always find a richness of God's teaching, wisdom, and leading that develops a deeper understanding of my struggles, successes, and relationship with God. Sometimes, the very circumstances that brought me the most discomfort reveal my most intimate times of spiritual growth with God.
My current journal note (journal begun 4/13/22) is 1 Corinthians 2:10: The Spirit dives into the depths of God and brings out what God planned all along. (MSG) We desire to be in control, even if only to know what comes next. My nature is to explore and examine and reach conclusions. I like to understand how all the pieces fit together. Blackaby says:
A part from God’s Spirit, the brightest human mind will never understand the simplest spiritual truth. Truth is revealed through encounter, not through study, for Truth is a person. Jesus is Truth.So in our daily journey, our encounter with the Father, we should be seeking His will and purpose in life, listening for His voice to lead, and knowing His compassion as peace. We must trust God with thankful hearts ~ thankful God loves unconditionally, and trusting Him to work all things into His perfect plan. Because try as I might, I will never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. ~ dho