Thursday, 31 March 2011

BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS

The blog is two days late this week because Esther and I have been traveling back home from Singapore.  Last weekend in Church of our Saviour we experienced remarkable meetings when the presence of God was very tangible. Such was the worship and working of God that the word was quite short but powerfully appropriate based on the beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers. The notes are below but you can also catch the service on the podcast at www.coos.org.sg  

This Sunday is mothering sunday, and Esther and I are returning to minister at the place where we served several years ago, in Westminster, at the Emmanuel Evangelical Church. 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall
be called the sons of God” [Matthew 5:9]


In James 3 verse 18 we read this lovely verse: “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace

The dictionary defines a Peacemaker as a person who brings about peace. Literally, a person who brings calm and quiet; re-establishes friendly relationships between people; brings reconciliation [The Oxford Dictionary]

In the Biblical sense peace is not just the negative absence of conflict, but the positive “shalom” – of well-being & wholeness! ‘Shalom’ means completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquillity prosperity, fullness, perfectness, rest, and harmony: the absence of agitation and discord. This adds a whole new emphasis to being a peacemaker – one who brings wholeness and well being as well as reconciliation between conflicting parties.  This is not just a personality type but is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life!

Not all children of God are known as peacemakers, but the reward of being a peacemaker is to be known as a child of God.

Is there any more wonderful name to have than being someone who brings peace? “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in” [Isaiah 58:12]

“The peace-makers are not necessarily the people who are talking about peace all the time. Peace-makers are those who are doing something, creating something, building something – bridges mostly” [Robert Schuller]

TO MAKE PEACE A PERSON MUST BE AT PEACE

Christ is our peace – Ephesians 2:14-18. When Jesus rules in our hearts and lives the result is peace! God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of peace [Romans 14:17]. We need to be at peace with God, with ourselves, and with others. How can we possibly be a peacemaker if we ourselves are not at peace?

“The peace of God which passes all understanding shall rule your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:7] is a wonderful promise. This peace is supernatural!

We are commanded to “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” [Ephesians 4:3]

We should pursue peace. Paul says, “Therefore, let us pursue the things that make for peace, and the things by which we may edify one another.” [Romans 14:19]

Paul speaks about peace and unity in his closing words to the Corinthians, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace” [2 Corinthians 13:11].

It is impossible for a person to bring peace when there is a war going on in their heart and soul.

“Of all the people who can bring peace, Christians should be the most able. They don’t need to carry around a bundle of emotional garbage that shows itself in the form of anxiety, fear, tension, or insecurity. They should not be angry people who feel they are the victims of life’s injustices.”
[Robert Schuller]

THE POWER TO BRING PEACE COMES FROM THE PRINCE OF PEACE

Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” [see Isaiah 9:6]

Every Christian is called to be a peacemaker
God reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…He has committed to us the word of reconciliation…we are ambassadors for Christ.” [2 Corinthians 5:18-20]. We are called to be reconcilers and peacemakers. We are ambassadors of the Prince of Peace

Peace making is God’s work – God is the author of peace, and of reconciliation. “Through Christ God was pleased ‘to reconcile to Himself all things…making peace by the blood of His cross.” [Colossians 1:20]. Christ’s purpose was to create in Himself one new man in place of the two [Jew & Gentile], so making peace’ [Ephesians 2:15]. 
                 
When we seek to bring peace wherever we go, we are simply doing what the Father does – it is not surprising then that peacemakers are called sons of God!

The key is that “God was in Christ, reconciling….” And “Christ lives in me” – the need is simply to let Him, who is the Prince of Peace, do His work through us!

PEACE ONLY WORKS IN CONJUNCTION WITH TRUTH AND LOVE
        
Peace is not the same as appeasement – it is not peace at any price - it cost the life-blood of God’s only Son!

To proclaim ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace is the work of a false prophet, not of Christian witness [Jeremiah 6:14 & 8:11]. There can be no real peace unless there is also truth and love!

Sometimes making peace is painful – When we are ourselves involved in a quarrel, there will be either the pain of apologizing to the person we have injured or the pain of rebuking the person who has injured us – pretending something has not happened or not dealing with the issue properly, and in a Biblical manner, is not peace making!

Being a peace-maker is risky - “We may not be personally involved in a dispute, but may find ourselves struggling to reconcile to each other two people or groups who are estranged and at variance with each other. In this case there will be the pain of listening, of ridding ourselves of prejudice, of striving sympathetically to understand both the opposing points of view, and of risking misunderstanding, ingratitude or failure.” 
[John Stott]

Peace-making often requires a positive attitude of love and care
We have an amazing example of peacemaking in the life of King David. He asked the question, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” Remember Saul had become his bitter enemy. A crippled son of Saul, called Mephibosheth was brought before him in fear and trembling. David brought him to his palace and said that this man would eat at the king’s table for the rest of his life [2 Samuel 9:1-13]. Such love brings peace and against such there is no law!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

HOW GOD CHANGED A CHEAT

Esther and I are now into our final few days and weekend in Singapore. God has richly blessed as we have ministered, especially this past weekend. You can catch the message on podcast at www.coos.org.sg

I have been so blessed as I have prepared todays message on Jacob. I trust that you will enjoy, but also be challenged at how God changed this man's life.           

HOW GOD CHANGED A CHEAT

Perhaps one of the most remarkable stories in the whole Bible is the story of how God changed Jacob. Jacob was a strong-willed, selfish, wheeler-dealing man who God totally changed! His name means “supplanter” or in modern English “cheat.”

Jacob’s father, Isaac, made Esau his favourite son, whilst Rebecca favoured Isaac. This is already a recipe for a family disaster. Favouritism creates jealousy, anger and bitterness.

Jacob stole his brother Esau’s birthright. He even cheated his own father and stole the blessing of his father from Esau. After this he had to flee in fear for his life!

When he was on the run Jacob had a remarkable experience of God at a place Jacob called Bethel [see Genesis 28:10-22]; God spoke to Jacob through a dream [28:12]; Jacob received the promise that God would be with him [28:13-16a]; Jacob made a genuine confession [28:16b-17] and commitment [28:18-22]; But then Jacob goes on his way and nothing further is recorded of his relationship with God until we come to Genesis chapter 32. Twenty-five years have passed since the experience Jacob had at Bethel. Is it possible to have an experience of God and your life to be unchanged?

Jacob continued cheating – painting sheep to get rich at another’s expense! He is a very selfish, and not nice person, full of his own importance and self-will.  All that will change! In Genesis chapter 32 we read of how God changed Jacob! The whole chapter is just one day in Jacob’s life.

IN THE MORNING Jacob met with angels [see Genesis 32:1-2]
There were two possible reasons why the angels met Jacob. Perhaps it was to remind him of the experience he had at Bethel, where, in his dream, he saw the angels ascending and descending on a ladder – Remember Jacob! It might be that the angels met with Jacob because later day Jacob would meet with an Angel – Be Prepared Jacob!

IN THE AFTERNOON Jacob met with trouble [see Genesis 32:3-21]
It is family trouble – Esau is coming to meet Jacob! Jacob has been running from him for many years avoiding confrontation and Esau’s anger! Actually Esau is coming in peace but Jacob’s conscience cannot understand. Jacob is afraid – he divides his possessions for protection [v7-8]; he prays [v9-12]; and he tries to appease his brother by sending a huge gift [v13-21].
It is the same old Jacob…unchanged, scheming and trying to work it out his way!

IN THE EVENING Jacob met with God [see Genesis 32:22-32]
The key verse – “And He blessed him there” [v29] – where was “there?” “There” was a place called Peniel, but it was also an experience.

It was a place of Loneliness [32:24] – all the pillars he leaned upon were gone! His wife, children, possessions were all on the other side of the river – Jacob was alone! It was just him and God!

It was a place of Brokenness [32:25]
The initiative came from God – he came and wrestled with Jacob!
We see the strength of Jacob’s spirit – he could resist God “all night”!
Here is the patience of God – that God allowed Jacob to resist “all night!”
When morning came God dealt with Jacob with just a touch – and Jacob was broken!
The thigh is a symbol of human strength – Jacob would not be able to run any more!

It was a place of Desperation [32:26
Before Jacob was resisting, but now he is clinging! “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Jacob recognized his need – the self-sufficiency, pride, arrogance has all gone now! He is desperate!

It was a place of Honesty [32:27]
The Lord asked Jacob, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he replied. Cheat, deceiver!  In the past his own father had asked the same question and had lied to him [see Genesis 27:18-19]. Now he is honest!

“And He blessed Jacob there!”  God gave Jacob a new name – Israel [v30]. He had a new vision – “I have seen God face to face” [v30]; [c] Jacob moved with a limp [v31], but he was changed. He would never forget and his life would never be the same again.

The last time we read about Jacob in the the Bible is in the book of Hebrews. Jacob is now an old man, and the writer says, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff” [Hebrews 11:21]. This former selfish wheeler dealer is now giving not getting; worshipping not fighting; He is leaning on his staff – did he still limp because God had touched his thigh? God had done His work and His servant was no longer arrogant, proud and fleshly but tender and sensitive to God!

HOW GOOD IS THE GOD WE ADORE! 
OUR UNFAITHFUL UNCHANGEABLE FRIEND,
WHOSE LOVE IS AS GREAT AS HIS POWER, 
AND KNOWS NEITHER MEASURE NOR END!

Monday, 14 March 2011

BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL

Esther and I have had a wonderful few days in Singapore. On Sunday there was an amazing spirit of intercession for Japan in this time of great pain in that nation. Last night Esther spoke to a "market-place" group of about sixty ladies and it was a time of great blessing. 

The message I preached on Sunday in Church of our Saviour, Singapore is the basis of our "Spirit Food" message this week. If you would like to listen to the message then please do so at www.coos.sg

May the Lord richly bless you this week.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” [Matthew 5:8]

We are going to look at the character of mercy that God expects of us, and the reward that the merciful receive.

Mercy is one of the three expectations that God places upon us. – “What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” [Micah 6:8]

THE MERCY GOD EXPECTS OF US IS PRACTICAL

The Greek word for mercy is active not passive. It has a positive meaning:
[a] It means to show kindness to the destitute or those in trouble.
[b] The stress is on pity shown by action and not just in thought. Mercy is a doing word!
[c] A synonym for mercy is compassion. “Compassion is love with pain!”
The difference between grace and mercy:
grace = undeserved, unmerited favour shown to the needy
mercy = practical compassion to the needy

The Word of God shows us two specific ways in which we are to be merciful:

Practical Care
One of the most impressive things about YWAM is its Mercy Ministries alongside its church-
planting and evangelistic ministries. There is not a dichotomy.
In Isaiah 58 gives us some amazing promises about guidance, healing and protection but these are conditional caring for the poor and needy.
In Matthew 25:34-46 Jesus speaks of clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and caring for those in prison as doing it as though to Him personally. Ministering to the needy = to minister to Jesus!
In James 1:27 we read that “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
The apostle John commands us to love, not in word only, but with action and in truth
[see 1 John 3:17-18]
On of the most beautiful stories in the Old Testament tells of King David’s love for a crippled man, related to his enemy, whom he brought to eat for the rest of his life to the royal palace and at the king’s table [2 Samuel 9:1-13]

We must be careful that our motives and attitudes are right. We do not care out of a sense of needing to be needed or to mask our own needs. Sometimes rejected people care for people in the hope of gaining acceptance. Neither do we care for people in order to gain merit, and find acceptance with God! We cannot earn acceptance or favour with God! We must be careful not to
carry people’s burdens in such a way that we hinder them from coming to God – thus becoming as it were a replacement for God, so that they learn to lean on us and not the Lord Himself.

Forgiveness
To have mercy on someone is to pardon and forgive them. The unmerciful refuse to forgive!

In the parable of the unmerciful servant [Matt. 18:21f] Jesus told of a servant who had been forgiven much but then showed no mercy or forgiveness to another person who owed him so little.

The story of Joseph is remarkable. He was treated unmercifully by his brothers, but later, when they were at his mercy he showed them mercy – he wept for their misery, met their needs, forgave them & restored them [Gen. 50:20]

How do I know that I have really forgiven someone? One proof is that if I still blame someone for something that happened to me, then I haven’t properly forgiven them.
Here are two penetrating tests:
[a] If we have no mercy towards those in need then it is it is doubtful whether we are Christians
[b] If we do not exercise mercy in forgiveness, then it is unlikely that we have ever really understood God’s grace. The person with no desire to forgive is in grave danger

THE REWARD EXPERIENCED BY THOSE WHO ARE MERCIFUL IS TANGIBLE

Those who show mercy will receive mercy! See some of the blessings to be enjoyed by the merciful:
Psalm 37:26 – Their children will be blessed
Psalm 112:4-9 – The compassionate man [see v4,5,9a] will have: [i] Have light [v4];
[ii] Experience good [v5]; [iii] Be secure [v6-8]; [iv] Be remembered forever [v6b, 9b];
[v] Be honoured [v9c];
Proverbs 3:3-4 – He will have favour and understanding before God and men.
Proverbs 11:17 – He does good to his own soul.
Proverbs 21:21 – He finds life, honour and righteousness.

The merciful are blessed - literally, they are 'most happy' - that's the meaning of "blessed!"

Here is the Law of Proportionate Returns – we forgive & are forgiven [Matt. 6:15]; we give and receive [Matt. 7:2]; we sowing and reap [Gal. 6:7];
We are to “Do to others as you would have them do unto you.”

‘If you want to treat people mercifully you have to begin by treating yourself mercifully. Accept yourself by knowing that Christ accepts you as you are! However, if you lack a deep sense of self-esteem and self-worth, you will constantly have problems with other people. You wont treat them mercifully. You’ll be unkind. You’ll be critical or you’ll gossip. You’ll lash back until you’ve undermined the most important aspects of your life – and you find it collapsed around you.
Think about it. What is it that keeps us from treating people mercifully? Is it resentment, jealousy, or the feeling that someone is a threat to you? If you can’t handle resentment, jealousy, or ‘victimitis’ then deep down in your own mind, heart and soul, you need to deal with your lack of positive self-image. Your negative reactions are the result of hidden wounds that need to be healed.'
[Robert Schuller in “The Be Happy Attitudes”]

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART


Tomorrow Esther and I fly to Singapore and will be ministering in Church of our Saviour for the next three weekends. I will be continuing the series on the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12. Below is one of the messages - Blessed are the pure in heart. You can listen to the message of each weekend on the podcast found at the Church of Saviour website. The website is:  www.coos.org.sg 

We have had a wonderful evening with our friends Michael and Carole this evening and they will be resting and relaxing in our home whilst we are in Singapore. We return to the UK on 30th March. Please pray for us.

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”
[Matthew 5:8]

Read Psalm 24 - the importance of clean hands and a pure heart

Holiness has been a much maligned teaching – spoiled by wrong negative attitudes and legalism, but the Bible says that holiness is a beautiful thing. God's Word says that we are to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness"

Lets look at this word wonderful beatitude about the pure in heart

THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF THE WORD HEART

The heart is the inner part of man

Although man is a single entity, he is made up of various parts. David said, “You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part…..” [Psalm 51:6]

The heart is:
The seat of our affections
“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also” [Matt. 6:21]
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” [Matt. 22:37]
The source of our words and actions
The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart….out of the heart come evil thoughts…[Matt. 15:18-19]
When we talk about a pure heart, we are talking about the inner person, and the result is seen in their life and character.
The heart of man is desperately wicked
The heart is deceitful above all things….who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]
In Matthew 15:19 a list of wickednesses is given of things that come from the heart [This is repeated in Mark 7:21].
The heart is so full of mixed motives, distractions and divided loyalties
Only God can make the heart of man pure
Under the Law it was impossible to make yourself pure and these beatitudes make it even more impossible!  And yet God’s Word says, “PURIFY YOURSELVES” [James 4:8]. As we surrender to Jesus so the Lord purifies our hearts through what he did for us on the cross. 

THE MEANING OF BEING PURE IN HEART
        
It means to be CLEAN
In the sense of not being mixed with any impurity.
In Greek the word is used of:  Clear water; Metals without alloy; Grain that has been winnowed [freed from mixture of other particles]
Nathaniel was a guileless man [John 1:47] – literally there were no hidden motives or selfish aims and hidden agendas underlying a fair outward appearance.
King David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” [Psalm 51:10]

It means to be HOLY
Holiness = separation unto God!
It is God’s work to make us holy, as we yield to Him. We are “Sanctified by the Spirit.” Paul says, “The God of peace sanctify you wholly…[1 Thess. 5:23].
Someone once said that "God doesn’t call us to happiness but to holiness!” This is NOT sinless perfection or entire sanctification! Those born of God do not continue to commit sin [see 1 John 3:7-10 & 1 John 5:18] but this does not mean that we will not commit sins [see 1 John 1:9 & 1 John 2:1]
“Holiness is not the inability to sin, but the glorious ability not to sin” [Eric Maddison]

It means to WALK IN THE LIGHT
Light and purity are equated in the Scriptures. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all [1 John 1:5]
The hymn writer wrote, “Eternal Light! Eternal Light, How pure the soul must be”
To walk in the light means that we accept what God says about us; that we do not deceive ourselves or others [1 John 1:8,10] and that we live a life of transparency - Honesty is the basis of all true fellowship [see 1 John 1:7]

THE PROMISE TO THE PURE IN HEART
                 
“They shall see God” – this is the ultimate reward! What a wonderful promise we have for the future.
The hymn writer Fanny Crosby was blind and one day longing that she might see the beauty of God's creation the words came to her of one of her greatest hymns. She wrote “And I shall see Him, face to face, and tell the story, saved by grace”

SIX STEPS TO PURITY OF HEART
                 
1. Recognize your need of purity
2. Acknowledge that only God can make your heart clean
3. Be totally honest with God about the condition of your heart
4. Confess all known sin, and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse you
5. Fill yourself with the Word of God [Read Psalm 116:9-16]
As we hide God's word in our hearts He keeps us clean and gives us victory over sin  
6. Concentrate on the finishing line
“Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” [1 John 3:2-3]

May God give us such a hunger for this kind of holiness and purity of heart that we will reach out to Him and allow Him to make us what He wants us to be - Holy! "Be holy as I am holy, says the Lord"

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

BLESSED ARE THE THIRSTY

Esther and I have recently returned from Holland where we were ministry and teaching in Cornerstone, the WEC Bible School. We were teaching on the Holy Spirit and His gifts. It is a tremendous privilege to input the lives of people who will be future Christian leaders and front-line missionaries. These are cutting-edge people.

Now we are home for a few days. We got back in time to attend our church in Bracknell. The morning message on Amos was outstanding and we would encourage to listen to it on the website of the Kerith Community Church, Bracknell.

We will be leaving again for Singapore on 9th March and ministering in Singapore, returning on at the end of March. Two very dear friends will be staying in our home for that period, enjoying a time of rest and relaxation.

On Friday of this week I will be speaking to a group of Chinese students in London. I have been working through a series with them on the beatitudes from Matthew chapter 5. This week we will look at “Bessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” from verse 6. I trust that these notes will also be a blessing to you as you read them.

BLESSED ARE THE THIRSTY

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” 
[Matthew 5:6]

We often hear that statement that someone is satisfied with Jesus or by Him and yet here we hear Jesus speaking about being spiritually hungry and thirsty!

THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION IN BEING SATISFIED AND YET HUNGRY

Some people will undoubtedly see a contradiction here: Happy are those who hunger and thirst…yet Christians speak of being satisfied.

Jesus promised to satisfy us
John 10:10 – “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly”
  
The Psalmist speaks of being satisfied
Psalms 63:5 – “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
Psalm 103:5 – “He satifies your desires with good things….”
Psalm 107:9 – “…He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Psalm 16:11 – “In your presence is fullness of joy….”  “Where Jesus is, ‘tis heaven there!”

The Bible speaks of godly men who were hungry
David – He walked with God…had wonderful experiences with God…..but there was a deep hunger and thirst [Psalm 17:15; 42:1-2; 63:1; 84:2]
Job – In the context of trials [“When He has tried me I shall come forth as gold” – 23:10], Job says, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary.” [Job 23:12]
Paul – “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death” [Phil. 3:10]

Many Christian Song Writers Speak of Deep Hunger for God
“I hunger and I thirst, Jesus my manna be.”
“As the deer longs for the water, so my soul longs after you…”
“O for a heart to praise my God, a heart from sin set free…”
“O for a closer walk with God……”

WHAT IT MEANS TO HUNGER & THIRST AFTER  RIGHTEOUSNESS

One of the key teachings of the Sermon on the Mount is about righteousness.

The first four beatitudes lead to a hunger for righteousness [v6]. The second four beatitudes lead to persecution for the sake of righteousness [v10]. The fifth, sixth and seventh beatitudes reveal the character of righteousness that often leads to persecution – it is mercy, purity & peacableness!

In three places apart from the beatitudes Jesus speaks of righteousness during the Sermon on the Mount – [Matthew 5:20; 6:1,33]

In Matthew 5:20 Jesus explains that righteousness is more than just obeying a set of rules! He then shows how our righteousness must surpass simply keeping the law:

We must not only not kill, but also not be angry against others and instead seek peace [v21-26].
We must not only not commit adultery, but not look on a person lustfully [v27-30].
We must not condone divorce because there is a legal provision but keep our covenant commitments [v31-32]. 
We should not only keep our oaths, but be the kind of people who do not need to take oaths in order to be believed [v33-37]. 
We should not seek revenge, but instead turn the other cheek and return good for evil [v38-42]. 
We should not only love our neighbour, but also love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us [v43-48].
Literally, righteousness has to do with showing mercy, being radically pure in heart and making peace instead of retaliating!  This is what God is like!

Definitions of hungering and thirsting after righteousness include:
An increasing sense of the need for God – that nothing else can really satisfy. 
A longing to be righteous, holy, God-like in character. 
Wanting God’s will for our lives, and and all that this may mean for us both individually and as a community – “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” [Matthew 6:33] 

Biblical righteousness is far more than a private and personal affair – when a group of people begin to act in this way it will bring community transformation [and opposition & persecution!!]

The bottom line is a hunger for God Himself. The hymn writer sums it up in the verse “My goal is God Himself, Not joy nor peace, nor even blessing but Himself my God”

When you hunger after God the other things are automatic… the desire to be like Him…to be holy…to do His will. To hunger after Him is to love Him…to love Him is to keep His commands!

Sometimes other things have taken priority, so that have become satisfied with less than God. It may be the subtle love of softening things. It may be other people [their attention; their love; even fellowship] or perhaps pleasure ministryworkemotional experiences… It may be that something or someone has taken the place that Jesus should have in your heart.
Tragically the church in Ephesus left its first love [see Revelation 2:1-7]. It was dynamic, active, doctrinally correct and prepared to suffer for Jesus, but had lost a vital ingredient – love!

This beatitude is a test of our spiritual desires – we each know in our hearts whether our greatest desire is to know God and His righteousness.

GOD’S PROMISE TO THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS

God made us for fullness!  Don’t be satisfied with less than God wants for you!

God’s plan is always fullness. Constantly through His Word this is emphasized:
He fills all things [Eph. 1:23; 4:10]; “Filled with all the fullness of God” [Eph. 3:19]; “Be filled with the Spirit” [Eph. 5:18]; “Filled with the knowledge of His will” [Col. 1:19]; Filled with the fruits of righteousness” [Phil. 1:11]; We are to be filled with goodness, and filled with all knowledge [Romans 15:14]; Mary says, “He hath filled the hungry with good things” [Luke 1:53]; David says, “My cup runneth over” [Psalm 23:5]; One day the glory of the Lord will fill all the earth [Habbakuk 3:3].

Jesus promised that from the innermost being of the thirsty would flow “rivers of living water.”

In Genesis 26:12-25 we find Isaac unblocking the wells! The water symbolising the Holy Spirit was available, but the well blocked! Isaac unblocked the wells which had been stopped up by the enemy! Unblocking wells is not for the contented, self-satisfied or faint-hearted! When Isaac had unblocked the wells, he then “dug another well” – he was satisfied with a holy dissatisfaction!

“There is perhaps no greater secret of progress in Christian living than a healthy, hearty spiritual appetite. Again and again Scripture addresses its promises to the hungry. God ‘satisfies him who is thirsty, and the hungry He fills with good things.’ [Psalm 107:9].
If we are conscious of slow growth, is the reason that we have a jaded appetite? It is not enough to mourn over past sin; we must also hunger for future righteousness.” [John Stott