Monday, October 24, 2011

October 25, 2011

"Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

This is another unexpected secret of satisfaction. Kingdom mourning is not depression but grief over our own spiritual bankruptcy. It is the result of seeing God in His holiness and seeing our own sinfulness in stark contrast. When confronted with God's purity , "those who mourn" are utterly striken by the enormity of debt the owe.

This is the mourning of Isaiah, after seeing "The Lord seated on a high and lofty throne," angels encircling the room, the very foundation quaking beneath his feet, the whole templ filling with the smoke of God;s glory. And without stopping for throught or explanation, Isaiah blurts out the only thing his soul knows to say, "Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am ruined, because I an a man of unclean lips and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." Isaiah 6:1,5)

This was the experience of Paul, who cried out conerning his ongoing struggle with sin, "What a wretched man I am! Who shall rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24)

It is the experience of every kingdom ctizen.

But - good news! - those who mourn over their sin are "comforted" by their forgiveness. While our awareness of our need never departs, God's comfort their forgiveness. While our awareness of need never departs, God's comfortis also continual. Our tears are tears of joy. We hurt, but we are satisfied.

This is more than a personal mourning. It's also a shared mourning - a sadness over the damaging effects of sin in our world, in our churches, in our extended families, among our friends. But for us, the sorrowing poor, our tears are turned into happy laughter through the intervention of the Messiah, whose kingdom pleasure is to "comfort all who mourn" (Isaiah 61:2)

Do you mourn today over the sins of your past? Over the sin of someone you love? Find comfort in knowing that through Jesus, God offers forgiveness. Continue to pray for those in sin.

October 24, 2011

Day 23 EKG Devotional

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 

I have walked with people through the experience of financial bankruptcy, so I understand the humiliation it causes. Spiritual bankruptcy ("poor in spirit") is humbling as well, but that's where the similarities end. There's no guarantee in bankruptcy that the person will ever recover financially. But Jesus promised that when we file for spiritual bankruptcy - when we recognize our complete inability to pay our debts or dig ourselves out of the hole - the "kingdom of heaven" is ours. (Matthew 5:3)

To enjoy the satisfaction Jesus offers, we need to know what being "poor in spirit" is. It is emptying ourselves before God, humbly acknowledging our impoverished spiritual condition.

The more we recognize the  enormous depth of our spiritual need, the more we will seek the reign of God in our lives. The less attached we are to this world, the more passionate we are toward the kingdom of God.

Declaring spiritual bankruptcy goes counter to our human nature which is proud and self-reliant. We would rather believe the lie that we are in control and we can work it out. All we need is a better education or a promotion at work, or different friends, or a better church, or a better attitude, or any number of other "props". Many people live under the delusion that happiness is just "out there somewhere" slightly beyond our reach.

The truth is happiness is not "out there" it is in welcoming the total and complete reign of Christ into your heart and mind and living for His kingdom. It seems the desparation of poor people allow them to recognize that easier. They are more open to becoming "like children" in order "to enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). They are the least and yet "the greatest in the kingdom" (Matthew 18:4). They have nothing but God, but when you have nothing but God is when you discover He is all you really need. He satisfies. Are you counted among the "satisfied"?