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Matthew 5:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

 

 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

     The seventh beatitude is the hardest of all to expound ("Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God," Matthew 5:9). The difficulty lies in determining the precise significance and scope of the word peacemakers. The Lord Jesus does not say, "Blessed are the peace-lovers," or "Blessed are the peace-keepers," but "Blessed are the peacemakers." Now it is apparent on the surface that what we have here is something more excellent than that love of concord and harmony, that hatred of strife and turmoil, that is sometimes found in the natural man, because the peacemakers that are here in view shall be called the children of God.

     This seventh Beatitude has to do more with conduct than character; however, of necessity, there must first be a peaceable spirit before there will be active efforts put forth to make peace. Let it be remembered that in this first section of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus is defining the character of those who are subjects and citizens in His Kingdom. First, He describes them in terms of the initial experiences of those in whom a Divine work is wrought. The first four Beatitudes may be grouped together as setting forth the negative graces of their hearts. Christ’s subjects are not self-sufficient, but consciously poor in spirit. They are not self-satisfied, but mourning because of their spiritual state. They are not self-important, not lowly or meek. They are not self-righteous, but hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of Another. In the next three Beatitudes, the Lord names their positive graces. Having tasted of the mercy of God, they are merciful in their dealings with others. Having received from the Spirit a spiritual nature, their eye is single to behold the glory of God. Having entered into the peace that Christ made by the blood of His cross, they are now anxious to be used by Him in bringing others to the enjoyment of such peace.

     The believer in Christ knows that there is no peace for the wicked. Therefore, he earnestly desires that they should acquaint themselves with God and be at peace (Job 22:21). Believers know that peace with God is only through our Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:19, 20). For this reason we speak of Him to our fellow men as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. Our feet are "shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15); thus, we are equipped to testify to others concerning the grace of God. Of us it is said, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15). All such are pronounced blessed by our Lord. They cannot but be blessed. Next to the enjoyment of peace in our own souls must be our delight in bringing others also (by God’s grace) to enter into this peace. In its wider application, this word of Christ may also refer to that spirit in His followers that delights to pour oil upon the troubled waters, that aims to right wrongs, that seeks to restore kindly relations by dealing with and removing difficulties and by neutralizing and silencing bitterness.

 

A.W. Pink

For My Deputy Friends

9/14/2014

For My Deputy Friends

Lord bless the ones who wear the badge
The ones who walk the beat,
Protect and keep them safe
While they're on the street.

As they wait and as they watch
Doing good for all,
guide their minds and give them strength
For each and every call.

Ready to put their lives on the line
Give them courage each day,
Let them know you're always there
In each and every way.

So bless the ones who wear the badge,
Protect them from harm,
Always keep them safe
And in your loving arms.

 

Chaplain Jim Barth

A Time for Courage

7-27-2014

KEY PASSAGE: Joshua 1:1-9 | SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE: Joshua 1:17, 18 | Psalm 63:6-8; 119:105 | Proverbs 3:5-6
Isaiah 41:10-13 | Matthew 10:26-31 | Matthew 28:20 | John 14:16-20 | 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 | Hebrews 4:12; 13:5

Fear is a crippling emotion.
It causes anxiety, divides our minds, and drains our energy. Unnecessary apprehension can hinder us from accomplishing God’s will for our lives. The Lord never intended His followers to dread the future.
Although we may feel afraid at times, we should never let fear control us.One of my favorite passages on overcoming fear is found in the story of Joshua. God said: “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). The promise that God gave Joshua that day is no less true for us today. There is no need for fear when we lean on the powerful presence of the Lord. Why did Joshua need courage? As second in command, Joshua had seen how the people had rebelled against Moses. On more than one occasion, they had even wanted to stone their leader when they disagreed with him. After Moses had passed away, Joshua was in charge of leading these disobedient people into the Promised Land. Even more frightening were the battles they would have to fight against skilled warriors in order to take possession of the territory.
In challenging Joshua to be courageous, God reassured him of His presence: “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them” (Josh. 1:5-6). The Lord also promised Joshua that he would find success if he faithfully meditated on and obeyed Scripture (Josh. 1:8-9).  Courage is more than a tough determination to succeed. I define it as “a quality of mind or spirit that enables us to meet danger, opposition, or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness.” Someone who has courage may still feel afraid, but through the power of God, can act with confidence. In just a few verses, God tells Joshua three times to “be strong and courageous"(Josh. 1:6, 7, 9). What is the reason for such repetition? He knew the people of Israel would try to control how Joshua led them. But the Lord wanted divine wisdom, not human logic, to guide the nation. For example, to defeat Jericho, God told Joshua to have the army march around the city once a day for six days, then seven times on the seventh day. If Joshua’s confidence had been in himself and his military experience, he may have resisted God’s unorthodox, but highly successful plan. God also told Joshua to obey the law of Moses: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you . . . so that you may have success wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7). This is the key to our success too. We no longer have to obey the laws given to the Jews in Exodus and Deuteronomy about sacrificial rituals and dietary rules. However, we should follow the moral commands given to Moses and the other biblical writers. When making decisions, rather than consulting primarily our feelings or friends, we need to seek to abide by the clear instructions in God’s Word. He is also faithful to speak to our hearts with specific guidance if we are
careful to listen. The Lord made a marvelous promise to Joshua: He would be with him no matter what happened (Josh. 1:5). As followers of Jesus, we have the same reassurance. Our Savior is always with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-20). He has promised us, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). If you have accepted the Father’s gift of salvation, Christ Jesus is your constant companion. What can we do to develop courage?
Meditate on God’s Word. The Lord told Joshua to meditate on the book of the law. Instead of just quickly reading a large section of the Bible each day, choose a shorter passage and really think about it. Ask God what it means and how to apply it to your life. Meditating on God’s Word will do several things:
1) Quiet your spirit. As you focus on the Lord and His goodness, your fears will dissolve.

2) Sharpen your perception. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Bible will give you a discernment you didn’t have
before.

3) Purify your heart. Scripture penetrates our deepest being, revealing to us our innermost thoughts so that we can deal with sin (Heb. 4:12).
4) Clarify your direction. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). In any challenge, burden, or heartache we face, God is willing to show us how to walk through it successfully (Prov. 3:5-6). Focusing on Scripture makes it easier to hear our heavenly Father’s guidance.
Recall God’s faithfulness in your life. What happened in the past when you faced difficulties with His help? You cried out to Him. You spent time reading His Word. You chose to believe the promises you found there. And God gave you strength to overcome despite adversity. Remembering such experiences can give you courage when you feel afraid.
Observe the courage of others. Believers who face tremendous challenges emerge victorious if they rely on God’s strength. As others share their testimonies of the Lord’s faithfulness, let their stories reinforce your faith in Him.
Ask the critical question. If I don’t obey God, what will happen? Every action, whether good or bad, has
a consequence. We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow. Rebelling against God may seem easier now, but it ultimately will be painful. Trusting and obeying Him always brings blessing.
Recall His promise to be with us at all times. The Lord told Joshua that He would never forsake him. Scripture says you and I have the same assurance today. Our omnipotent God has all power to guide us and give us success in life.

 

 

 

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