NASB Romans 8:Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
The whole chapter of Romans 8 and especially these verses are part of the treasure of my life of faith. They are the reality of a very special dream I had. I don’t know how much credence you give to dreams but this one changed my life as a relatively new believer more than half a lifetime ago.
Jesus had come to take me to see something with him. I felt secure. I was with him and he held my hand as we looked together at a grotesque museum-like head and shoulders statue on a pedestal sitting alone in the room. It wasn’t until we were leaving and I turned to look again at that ugly thing…one last time…that I saw it was me.
I awakened from the dream with an actual physical feeling of love for Jesus. He loved me enough to hold my hand until I understood that ugly statue was no longer me. That dream became My Love Song for him. There are more lyrics and I hope I still have them written down…somewhere…but this verse and chorus are the response of a full heart I will always remember.
My Love Song
You came to me in a dream and showed me what I could be
You taught me that I could love myself because of your love for me
And now I’m ready to share what I’ve learned
Of how filling your love can be
Through the miracle of love set to music
Flowing from you through me.
This is my love song for you Lord.
I sing it for the joy of loving you.
The words and the music you have placed in my heart
Are the gift that I give now to you.
You are the beat and the rhythm.
You are the lyric and tune.
You are the music singing in my heart
You are the song.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The other minor prophets are going to have to wait. I need a break after Hosea. Something like going back to New Testament basics. I did learn valuable things about the character of God and his enduring love and desire to teach, train and correct us despite, and because of, our circumstances. I learned first and foremost his heart is to equip us to be able to walk on our own two feet…but always with him…never alone. It’s a total picture of what righteousness training looks like.
It’s good to know that the Word is more than one book. It’s not just a long list of painful reminders of the results of bad choices, hard lessons and needed corrections so we’ll be afraid to step out of line. God has chosen Jesus to provide that independence for each of us. Jesus gives us a personal, independent identity with God that reveals our unique spiritual gifts “that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
5:8 And even though Jesus was God’s Son, he had to learn from experience what it was like to obey when obeying meant suffering. 9 It was after he had proved himself perfect in this experience that Jesus became the Giver of eternal salvation to all those who obey him.
The Bible gives us a magnificently big picture of God in our world. Here’s the good news for today; Jesus is God’s application for our daily experience. When it comes to obedience we need both
1. Noun – practical contact with and observation of facts or events.
2. Verb – encounter or undergo (an event or occurrence).
1. It’s a big thought that Jesus had to learn what obedience was like from his practical experience. He was fully divine and he proved it, but he was also fully human and that is what he has to share with us. What if obedience is the remedy that cures us from the dis-EASE of being human? I know it’s sometimes hard to swallow. That’s the “noun” part.
2. Life is the “verb” part of experience. It requires undergoing Continue reading
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Recognizing that people could be persecuted because they pursue righteousness is hard to bring to a daily level for me. I need some definition.
• pur·sue seems pretty positive – to follow (someone or something)…: follow, run after, chase…
• per·se·cute seems pretty negative – to subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of…religious beliefs; oppress, abuse, victimize…torment, torture; martyr…
Those are dictionary definitions but here’s a third word I checked too. The surprise for me was that the Greek word the Bible translates as persecuted [#1377 diṓkō] included both those first two words. Strong’s Greek Concordance says:
• used positively (“earnestly pursue”)
• used negatively(“zealously persecute, hunt down”).
• In each case, 1377 (diṓkō) means “pursue with all haste (“chasing” after), earnestly desiring to overtake (apprehend).”
It was that word diṓkō and that last point, that brought the fullness of Jesus words into perspective for me. Life is both positive and negative.
…When the negative side is circumstances, events and people that “pursue with all haste (“chasing” after), earnestly desiring to overtake (apprehend)” and persecute you…or
…When the positive side is that you continue to “pursue with all haste (“chasing” after), earnestly desiring to overtake (apprehend)” righteousness.
There is the promised blessing In Each Case – the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Wanting everything to be fixed is not the same as being a peacemaker. I wish that were all it took.
Jesus is acknowledging there are some of his children who are gifted Beyond Just Fixing. They are peacemakers. They are able to create a unique connection between God and a world where separating one person’s truth from another’s has become the essence of conflict.
The peacemaker’s gift is not the ability to provide therapy, preaching or give good advice. They are able to create an opportunity for those in conflict to explore the reality of truth as God means it to be: a path to unity not separation.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about hearts and how God changes them. That’s what led me again to Ezekiel 36:26 & 27 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my
I think Ezekiel’s words are what Jesus is honoring with this Beatitude. Purity of heart is a slow but sure promise of the power God and the life of Jesus to chisel away at a stoney heart, pebble by pebble, and replace it with life and his Spirit.
Consider this idea. Find a lovely glass jar you’d be comfortable to have in a prominent place in your home. Either buy or gather a supply of small pebbles to have on hand. Every time you feel God tug at your heart, put another pebble in that jar. It may or may not be a big event but it’s an important one to remember; another pebble has fallen loose.
God is at work changing your heart from stone to flesh and you’re One Pebble Closer to purity and the blessing of seeing the reality of God.
The Second Beatitude
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mourning exposes a depth of emotions associated with loss that are an Unfamiliar Reality to us. Loss forces us to experience those emotions and at same time admit our coping skills will not comfort us.
This is the reality that Jesus simple words address: mourning releases us from our need to cope with those unbearable circumstances so we are ready for the blessing of comfort.