To Be Meek

I am enjoying the popular book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I’m reading it slow and blogging on it as I go. So far I have blogged an Introduction, and on the first two Beatitudes. This one, on meekness, is especially good.

 

To Be Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

This third principle on meekness must be viewed in its relationship to the other Beatitudes; there is definitely a logical connection. In the first Beatitude on being “poor in Spirit,” we saw that the Christian is truly helpless without God; that he can do nothing without Him. And that should be our attitude. In the second Beatitude on “mourning” we saw that we must realize our own sinfulness. And for that realization we mourn. And so that should be our attitude. Thus we are helpless without God and we mourn over our sin.

In these first two principles we have been looking at ourselves. But in this third principle of meekness, this requires that I invite others to look at me and to interact with me; to be meek is the Christian attitude I am to have toward others. As Lloyd-Jones put it, “[Meekness] is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of doing it myself.” Also, we must keep in mind that the meek one always remembers who he is: he is one who is poor in spirit and a sinner who must mourn over his sin. With this attitude we are prepared to be meek toward others. Now what is meekness? How can I be meek? Here are four points that may be helpful.

1. Meekness is a Christian quality. It is produced in me by the Holy Spirit. It is listed in Galatians 5 as one of the gifts of the Spirit, often translated as “gentleness.” But we have to be careful here, because not all gentle people are meek. I mean some people appear to be gentle and very nice, but some of those people are not even Christians. So those people are not genuinely gentle and certainly not meek. I live in Minnesota and we have a saying, “Minnesota nice.” Yes, it is true that people in Minnesota appear to be very nice. But that’s not what true meekness is. Meekness is a genuine, deep-down gentleness we get from the Holy Spirit when we put our trust in God—when we allow Him to fill us with His Spirit.

2. Meekness is having an approachable and teachable attitude. Our best example on this is the Lord Jesus. He was always approachable and absent of any retaliation or pride. He was dependent entirely upon what His Father taught Him day by day. He often prayed long into the night and in the early morning, waiting to be taught of His Father. For me, I would say that meekness means to be a good listener and to be eager to learn.

3. Meekness is selflessness. The meek person does not assert himself, does not boast in self, does not defend or protect himself, does not demand anything for himself, and does not feel sorry for himself. Wow! That’s a tall order. Even the most Christian person will naturally want to defend himself and feel sorry for himself—once in a while, especially when others are putting him down. But we must remember that meekness is not a natural quality. It is of the Holy Spirit. Hence, true meekness will only appear in a person when he is filled with the Holy Spirit and is walking in the Spirit.

4. The meek person trusts God for everything. When he is persecuted and suffering, he will have no spirit of retaliation or feel sorry for himself. Instead, he will patiently leave everything in the hands of God, trusting Him to work everything out. We see this attitude in so many of the early saints like Moses, David, Jeremiah, Stephen, Paul, and of course Jesus, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister (Mark 10:45).

 

What will be the blessing for the meek?

Jesus says that they will inherit the earth. What does that mean? In a sense, those who are meek already inherit the earth. That is, they are blessed by God with satisfaction and contentment. And this is the way it works: the meek man gives up everything to God, and then, surprisingly, God gives him back everything. Yes, since he has Christ, he has everything. He has all things (that are of any value). This is true right now in this life, but it is also true in the next life; for we will be joint-heirs with Christ for eternity.

Do you want to be truly blessed now and for eternity? Do you want to enjoy Him to the fullest? Then open up your heart and strive to be meek.

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Blessed Are They That Mourn

 

This second Beatitude follows closely after the first—“Blessed are the poor in spirit…”—and has a vital connection to it. We will look first at the meaning of mourn and then later we will show why true mourners are blessed and comforted.

 

What did Jesus mean by mourn?

  1. The kind of mourning Jesus meant here was a spiritual mourning, a mourning of our spirit and soul over sin. This mourning will follow being poor in spirit as we see our helplessness and hopelessness without God.
  2. This mourning is a groaning within ourselves over the spiritual condition of the world, and over all sin and all trouble in the world (Rom. 8:32). And as the world says, forget your troubles, Jesus says, face your troubles and mourn over them and pray for blessing to come.
  3. Mourning must begin first with ourselves over our own sins. At the end of each day it is good to recall all our thoughts and feelings and sins, and mourn over them in prayer.
  4. We should mourn also over the sins of others and over all the problems in the world. Yes, be concerned and pray over your society and over the world as Jesus did.

 

When we mourn we can expect blessing and comfort from the Father.

  1. The one who mourns is repenting for his own sins, and he is obedient in prayer over the sins of others. He repents and is obedient because the Holy Spirit is at work on him. And then soon, while in a prayerful mourning state, the Holy Spirit will comfort him and make him happy.
  2. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out, “But there is not only this immediate comfort offered to the Christian. There is another comfort…” It is the comfort of the blessed hope, which is the hope we have in our redemption. This redemption, as we know, will come to us immediately when we see Jesus and are changed to be like Him. So as we mourn over our sinful state, we can be comforted in our future hope. And we should comfort one another with this hope (1 Thess. 4:18).
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Let Us Who Are Christians Trust in the Lord While He Destroys Our Enemies

Prayer for Trump and Country

If the good and godly people of this country will trust the Lord and stay strong and pray and worship the Lord , we need not fear—because God will give us justice and protection against those who want to destroy us (with socialism, with endless investigations, with abortion, with illegal immigrants, etc.).

In five different situations in the Scriptures you will find that God dealt (or will deal) with Israel’s enemies by confusing them, confounding their strategy, and setting them against each other so that they destroyed each other. And this happened especially when Israel was trusting the Lord and praying to Him. Here are those five situations.

 

Gideon and his 300 men against the Midianites and the Amalekites, (Judges 7:19-23).

So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just…

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To Be Poor in Spirit

I have been following the book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. A very good book!

The very first line in the sermon, and the beginning of what is called the Beatitudes, is this line: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” You may question Jesus for starting out this way; but if you study it, you will find that it is entirely right; for His sermon is a sermon for believers—what a true believer should be like and how he can be blessed by God when he is totally surrendered to Him. A true believer, then, is one who is poor in spirit; and that one will be blessed by God (happy) and will indeed share in the kingdom of heaven—now and later.

Now the question we are asking here is, what does it mean to be poor in spirit? This question is very important because this tells us what it means to be a Christian. Also, since this line is at the beginning of the sermon, it is believed that it is the key to the entire sermon; that is, that all things that are spoken after it will fall in line with it, or be somehow connected with it.

 

So what does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Well, we know what it means to be poor, but the term “spirit” is not so easy to understand. However, I think we can look at it this way. Our spirit is the part of us that is eternal and that may have a connection with God. When you put the two words together, poor with spirit, it is even harder to comprehend. But I will give it a try.  A person that is poor in spirit is a person who is lacking the likelihood of his spirit connecting with God, or having a positive relationship with God. So we may say that he, in and of himself, can do nothing in a God honoring way; he can do nothing to please God apart from God. Lloyd-Jones in his book gives several ideas of what being poor in spirit means. I have combined my notes into four points.

  • Being poor in spirit means to have a humble opinion of self—to feel that we have no righteousness of our own. I think Isaiah says it well: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). Indeed, if we are poor in spirit we continue to feel our sinfulness and unworthiness, especially while we are in God’s presence.
  • We are spiritually bankrupt without Him. We are aware that we have nothing good in us (of no value) apart from God.
  • We are aware that we cannot make any headway with God. That is, we cannot do anything good apart from Him.
  • Because we know we can do nothing good, in and of ourselves, we allow Christ to meet all our needs. We are totally dependent on Him. We submit all to Him. We are aware that He alone is our entry in His kingdom.

Combining all the above, one who is poor in spirit sees his own spiritual poverty, and therefore his inability to enter the kingdom of heaven. Surprisingly though, this attitude is the very thing that will give this poor man happiness, because he will find that, with it, God has welcomed him into His kingdom.

 

Here are six men who have given us examples of being poor in spirit:

Paul. He did not speak with great self-confidence. He spoke in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling. People said of him, “His appearance is weak and his speech contemptible.” He never attempted to exalt himself, but exalted Christ Jesus the Lord.

Gideon. He never thought he was very great. He knew that he belonged to the lowest tribe.

Moses. He felt deeply unworthy to lead his people out of bondage.

Isaiah. He said, “I am a man of unclean lips.” He was deeply aware of his sins.

Peter. Peter was a man who was naturally gifted and self-confident. But when he saw the Lord after His resurrection, he said to Him, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Jesus. Though God, He lived as a man—a poor man. He said of Himself, “I can do nothing of myself.” He said, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Jn. 14:10).

 

One Last Thought

I don’t think that it is wrong to be self-confident and to be aware of our giftedness, but when it comes to our relationship with God and Christ, we must surrender it all to Him. And when we serve the Lord, and when we do anything in life, we must give it all (give all of ourselves) to him. If we don’t then we may be guilty of self-righteousness and pride. We may have many gifts and talent, but it is up to us to pray over them, realize that they are from the Lord, and make sure that they are used to please him. Be aware, your gifts may be your downfall!

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The Sermon on the Mount: An Introduction

 

I have been reading Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I am just a little ways into the book, and, so far, it is very good, well worth reading; so good that I have decided to do some blogging on it as I go.

We will start, in this first blog post, with an introduction—to the entire sermon and to the beatitudes. Here are five points from Lloyd-Jones’ book well worth mentioning.

  1. The sermon presents a perfect picture of how every Christian was meant to live—or a picture of the kingdom of God. Therefore, all Christians should regard the sermon as a guide to follow, but more than that, as a way of life that God expects us to follow.
  2. The sermon is meant for us now, not in the future. Ultra-dispensationalists would insist that this sermon (and the gospels) was not really meant for us now, but for the millennial kingdom. I suppose they would say that it is just impossible to measure up to all the sermon’s teachings, that Jesus would never expect us to follow such high standards—not until He comes to rule over the world. But we are meant to be a very different people, and with Christ in our heart we can be different.
  3. All of the sermon’s teachings are achievable by the Holy Spirit, but none can be achieved naturally, by some natural gift. Therefore, the sermon is meant only for Christians who are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  4. The sermon, if followed, will make us more like Jesus and is a direct road to spiritual blessing.
  5. As for the Beatitudes, they are not to be separated, but we must take them as a complete whole. Says Lloyd-Jones,

Each one of necessity implies the other. For instance, you cannot be ‘poor in spirit’ without ‘mourning’ in this sense; and  you cannot mourn without ‘hungering and thirsting after righteousness’; and you cannot do that without being one who is ‘meek’ and a ‘peacemaker’. Each one of these in a sense demands the others.

 

Next post: Bless Are the Poor in Spirit.

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Pray for Mexico

Prayer for Trump and Country

Prayers for Mexico

According to the latest Trump tweets (listed below), “Everyone is excited about the new deal with Mexico.” But nonetheless, much prayer is needed. Please pray that…

  • The hard work of negotiations on both sides will pay off.
  • Pray for Mexico that they will not back down on their agreements: that they will be using their strong immigration laws, that their military will be tough, and that people seeking asylum will no longer be free to pass through Mexico into the U.S.
  • Pray against those in the U.S. who are opposed to the agreement.

Pray also for Bill Barr

In a recent Fox news clip, AG Barr compares return to DOJ to D-Day, likens it to trying to ‘land without getting shot’

Pray for Barr’s safety and strength, and that he would be used to bring our justice system back to the way it should be.

Here are…

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How to React to Trials

Most of us, I’m afraid, don’t react properly to trial. But if we did, the bible tells us that we would “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” In this blog, I will address what we mean by trails, how they come to us, why God allows them, how not to react to trials, and how we should react to them.

 

What Are Trials?

Someone may have in mind one particular trial, but here we are talking about anything, any trouble that the Lord may use to try our faith; that is, that He may use to train us and build up our faith. In 1 Peter 1:6-7 (KJV), Peter spoke of “manifold temptations.”

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: KJV

In the book Spiritual Depression, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, he pointed out that this term means “many-coloured.” Thus, he said that these early Christians were experiencing trials of many “different shapes and forms and there is no end to the variety.”

So what are we talking about?  We are talking about trouble, any trouble we are having that gives us a heavy feeling. We are talking about any kind of loss, or sickness, or grief, or disappointment, or fear, or pain, or even dread or guilt over sin. And, of course, we are talking about persecution and suffering of all kinds.

 

How Trials Come to Us

They come to us largely through our circumstances—through everything we encounter in life every day. And, of course, they are the result of sin and a cursed world, something we will never escape in this life.

 

Why God Allows Trials and Sometimes Even Orders Trials

The author of Hebrews, in Hebrews 12:5-11, addresses this well.

 

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. KJV

 

In this passage it is clear to see that God uses trails to discipline us (train us, or chasten us). And He does it because we are His children and He loves us. I think we could regard trials like weighs that an athlete would lift to make himself stronger. In the spiritual sense, trials will build up our faith and our resistance to sin.

In this passage the author seems to be saying that God is always watching over us, and He knows what each of us needs in order to be holy. Thus, He will put upon us those things—those particular trials—that will best bring about the training He intends for us, so to bring to us His desired result—holiness and righteousness. Some may be lazy and have a weak faith; He has a designed trial to correct it. Some have the sin of pride; He has trials to make them humble, etc. Some trials will help to safeguard us from sinful temptations. And most trials, I suppose will stimulate spiritual fruit—if the trials are reacted to correctly.

Now we can never know exactly how God works; but I would suggest that sometimes He allows or permits trials to happen to us, and sometimes He will order them upon us. I suppose, if our sins and the world and the devil can’t come up with the trials that are appropriate for our situation, He will order them, even from the devil. And God in His wisdom is sovereign in all things.

 

How Not to React to Trials

We have been talking about how God uses trials to help us grow in faith. But, as Lloyd-Jones has pointed out, “the mere fact that we are chastised does not mean that, of necessity, we are going to benefit by it.” We have to react properly to trials. We have to look to God in trials and submit to Him through it all. Here are three ways that many have wrongly reacted to trials.

They despise it. That is, they don’t want to think about it and they even pretend that it isn’t there. They say, all is well, nothing is wrong. They shake it off as to get rid of it. They put the trial out of their mind. But in doing that they are rejecting what God is giving them to help them, and in so doing they are rejecting God. Thus, when they despise the trial, it does them no good and will even put them in a worse state.

They let it discourage them. The writer of Hebrews says, “nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  So we are not to be discouraged when the Lord reproves us by trials, instead we are to understand that He give us trials to discipline us because he loves us. This correct thinking ought to bring us out of our discouragement.

They become bitter. When a person continues to reject the Lord in the trials and doesn’t seek to understand it, and even blames God for it, he will eventually become bitter. If this happens, they open the door to evil in their life, causing many to be defiled (Heb. 12:15).

 

How to React Correctly to Trials

Here are five correct reactions to trials, which, if appropriated, will build a strong foundation of faith.

Seek to understand why. The first thing you should say to yourself is, “why is this happening to me?” Then ask God to help you understand it. Also, reflect on the fact that He loves you and disciplines every son whom He loves.

Confess every sin and repent. As you are doing this, perhaps God will show you some weakness in your faith and you will understand why He is disciplining you as He is.

Submit to God. Say to yourself with the Psalmist, “It was good for me that I have been afflicted…Before I was afflicted I went astray…” Say to God that you are willing for Him to give you all the affliction necessary to accomplish His will in you.

Look to Jesus as our example. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”

Rejoice. James says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

 

My thanks to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, for his book Spiritual Depression, which were of great help to me in forming the outline for this blog post.

 

 

 

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