You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat (Matthew 5:6, The Message).
As a child, I was coaxed to eat my spinach and other green vegetables to grow and be strong like Popeye the Sailor Man. As an adult, I know it is critical to eat my green vegetables to be strong and to stay healthy. In fact, today I have an appetite for green vegetables and it’s the same appetite that I now have for God. We need to eat our vegetables and God is like that vegetable. He is our nourishment; nourishing our soul, our spirit, in such a way, that we hunger for more.
I think we hunger more for God when things don’t go as planned. We hunger for God, when one day of missed blessings, turns into weeks and then to months. I hunger for His love, His comfort, for His wisdom and just to know who this God is. I am so hungry for God that I am salivating.
It is ironic but, for me, this Beatitude verse closely aligns with Psalm 111:10a, which reads “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (NIV). The Message Bible says that the “the good life begins in the fear of God”. Fear in this case, means our reverence to our God. It means that we accept His awesomeness. When I think of God’s awesomeness, I think of an all powerful being that cannot be manipulated or controlled; a being that I desire to know in a more intimate way.
To get there I must have wisdom and that wisdom attainment begins when I seek, when I hunger for that relationship with God. A relationship that may require us to “wrestle with God, play with God, weep with God, argue with God, laugh with God, love God—and (yes) fear God…(Richard Schmidt, 2005, p. 273)*.
When we get to a place and realize that God is greater than our image of Him. That heaven is more than that pie in the sky; we then hunger to know more of God; sometime weeping, sometime in anger, but always in reverence and awe and always with an appetite for more.
*Schmidt, Richard H. (2005). Praises, Prayers, & Curses: Conversations with the Psalms. Cincinnati,Ohio: Forward Movement.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew, 5:4 NIV)
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” (The Message).
What a paradoxical statement! How can that be? Let’s think this through? What’s dear to us can vary over time and/or we can have many things that are dear to us:
Our jobs (careers)
Our brothers, our sisters, our homes, you name it.
For me it was the loss of a job and to certain extent a career that I spent 30 years building.
But you know I am surviving. I am embracing the process and learning to live by faith one day at a time.
I trust God to take care of me; yes, for the essentials (shelter, food, clothing, etc) and for the existential (the meaning of life, why me God, etc).
Yes it is scary, but I embrace this uncertainty, this mystery because the Lord has taught me that He is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1) and that He will carry my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19).
So in this time of loss, uncertainty and yes, questioning, my faith in my God is unwavering.
I know that God hears my sighs, sees my tears and even when I cannot pray intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express (Roman 8:26); and because of this, I know without doubt that I am in God’s care and in His will. Amen.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).
“You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message, Matthew 5:3).
God, I am at the end of my rope right now. In fact, I am losing my grip. I wouldn’t want to wish this _____________ (you name it) on anyone. But you said that I am blessed.
How can that be? Explain that to me? It is like I am in an endless pit. Teach me the secret of more of you. I want that reality for my life.
But then it hits me. If I put my focus on you instead of my problems I will feel blessed; blessed in such a way that I want to help others. One writer said that when we allow God to translate our problems into a ministry that our pain becomes someone else’s gain.*
We learned that when we are poor in spirit, we have more of God; and, isn’t that what we pray for anyway.
So as I pray daily, I remain hopeful, even as the grip gets tighter, in the words found in Ecclesiastes 7:8:
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
*Batterson, M. (2006). In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books
God, as I speak let me talk about your willingness to “go ahead” and pave the way for me; so my pain, sorrows, and injustice that I suffer are bearable.
For you oh Lord, have already taken the major brunt for me; your spirit prays for me when I know not what to pray—“making prayer out of my worthless sighs, my aching groans” (Roman, 8:26, The Message).
God as I speak…let me be genuine in my praise for you. Amen
“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders” *
God, I often find it hard to shout for you; to praise you for the things that you do for me.
What are those things? Oh, it may be surprising. It is not those earthly, material things that are needed to survive. No, it is the things that are not often seen by the naked eye.
It’s that inner peace, that inner comfort and inner joy. It’s that unexplainable, undescribed knowing—that vision, that hope, that desire of my heart to be a part of you. It is that desire to be with you, to share you with others. It’s that spiritual resource, the fuel that I need to go another day. To be all I can be until I can dwell in you completely.
I decided to check several other versions:
“…for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (The New King James)
“…If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.” The Message Bible
Oh yes, that’s the one for me; “I won’t trip over my own feet. How many of us have done that—trip over our feet or put our foot into our mouths.
God, this verse speaks to us today. How can we go wrong, if our thoughts are always on you? Who can hurt us, if our trust is always in you?
God as we hunger for you; guide us toward your truth and teach us your ways. We don’t want to falter; nor do we want to hurt or to be hurt.
Our wish is to serve and to show others your way. Amen
This is written for all wise servant leaders and those who ache to do God’s will
“Here am I,” said Mary;
“I am the Lord’s servant; as you have spoken, so be it.” Luke 1:38 (NEB)
I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants.
Though I have doubts and fear; I trust you will show me the way. But count on me Lord to seek clarifications as I pray daily to be “at-one-ment” with you.
I need not fear for my sustenance; my needs are to fulfill the needs of those who call out in the “wilderness.”
I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants. All I ask Lord is that you offer help along the way.
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jarius, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?’’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:35-36.
This scripture brought to my remembrance the struggle I had trying to define leadership. I wanted leadership to be more than just a word; I wanted and needed the word, leadership, to be an ongoing living and active statement. Then I realized that leadership is about faith; it is about not limiting your possibilities to the visible. It is about drowning out the noise and believing that there’s more to life than what meets the eyes. Then it came to me: “Leadership is unlimited when you believe in something bigger than yourself.”
What is your definition of Leadership?