mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness
Dictionary.com defines meek this way:
humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
Obsolete . gentle; kind.
According to these definitions, Jesus said that those who are gentle of spirit and have mild dispositions will inherit the earth. I have to confess, I need to work on this…
When I think of meekness, I think of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was arrested. Do you remember His response, when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss on the cheek? He accepted His “friend’s” kiss, knowing all the while why he was there, and what he had done to Him. He even called him “friend.”
I would have railed against him, and shouted at that traitor! I may have even hit him, but Jesus offered His cheek to him. Jesus, could have struck that vile betrayer down, with just one word, but He didn’t…
Do you remember what happened when the Roman soldiers and Temple guards asked for Jesus, the Nazarene? “I am He,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.)6 As Jesus said “I am He,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! (John 18:1-10 NLT)
Do you remember Jesus’ response when Peter grabbed a sword and slashed the ear off of the high priest’s slave a few minutes later? Instead of making a run for it (as I surely would have done) Jesus took the time to perform a miracle, placing the ear of this man, who was there to harm Him, back where it belonged, then submitted to those who were there to arrest Him. (Luke 22:47-53 NLT)
Do you think Jesus was weak? Do you think He couldn’t have destroyed those who were there to destroy Him? Think again. Jesus could have called down thousands of angels to rescue Himself. He could have slain these men with just a word, but instead, He chose gentleness, and in doing so, He exhibited His greatest strength. (Matthew 26:47-56 NLT)
You see, for Jesus, submitting meekly to His Father’s will was far more important than giving a mighty display of His strength. Submitting to the torture meted out by a violent mob, in accordance with His Father’s will was more important than giving them the divine retribution they were due. Dying for their sins, your sins, and my sins was far more important to Him, than giving us the justice we deserved… For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)
In both His life and His death, Jesus demonstrated the way we are to live. When He told us, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” He wasn’t merely speaking empty words. He both lived and died according to everything He said and taught…
1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed His powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. 3 He was despised and rejected— a Man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! 5 But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of My people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in His hands. 11 When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. 12 I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. (Isaiah 53 NLT)
As I study these words of Jesus, I am struck by how much I have to learn. I am struck by my own weakness. Lord, show me Your ways. Help me to be meek, even as You were meek, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
This is a prayer that King Solomon, son of King David offered up to the Lord. It is a beautiful prayer asking the Lord to help him lead his people in righteousness. Let’s take a look at this powerful psalm.
1 A psalm of Solomon. Give justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. 2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful, because the king does what is right. 4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. 5 May he live as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon continues in the skies. Yes, forever! 6 May his reign be as refreshing as the springtime rains — like the showers that water the earth. 7 May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the end of time. 8 May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. 9 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. 12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. 13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. 14 He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him. 15 Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 May there be abundant crops throughout the land, flourishing even on the mountaintops. May the fruit trees flourish as they do in Lebanon, sprouting up like grass in a field. 17 May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. 18 Bless the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. 19 Bless His glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen! 20 (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)
I wonder what kind of world we would live in, if every king, president, prime minister, and emperor sincerely prayed this prayer? I wonder what kind of world we would live in if our congressmen, senators, governors and mayors sincerely prayed this prayer?
What would it be like, if President Obama began to pray this prayer for himself and the people he has been ordained to lead. Now, I know that many Christians may disagree with me about Obama being ordained to lead this country, because he has so obviously proven himself to be a man who stands on his own selfish principles, and against the statutes of God. However, my beloved brothers and sisters, I would admonish you to read the following scriptures and pray about it.
1 Obey the government, for Godistheonewhoputitthere. AllgovernmentshavebeenplacedinpowerbyGod. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.
Now that’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? Not only did God place Obama and all of the U.S. Senate and House in their positions, but He also placed Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office. What’s more, it was God who placed the Emperor Nero into his position of power, and many centuries later, He placed Adolf Hitler in charge of Germany… So what’s up with that?
Are we supposed to obey a corrupt government, like Hussein’s Iraq or Hitler’s Germany? After all, Romans 13:1 clearly states that we are to obey the government and that all governments are placed in power by God. The answer to that question is yes, unless that government commands you to do things that go against the law of God, such as denying Christ as Lord, murdering, and harming others or stealing from others, etc.
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
I must address another question that must be on many minds… Why would a holy and righteous God place a corrupt leader to rule over a nation? Now this might now set well with many, but I can live with that. You see, the answer to this question can be found in1 Samuel 8, which I’ll paraphrase for you, along with a bit of history from the book of Judges in the Old Testament as well. (click the link if you’d like to read the chapter that I’m paraphrasing)
Back in Old Testament times, long before the nation of Israel had kings, God placed judges over the people. Some of the judges were good and obedient to the Lord, leading the people in the ways that they should go, but then, there were others, who were wicked, leading the people astray. The people of Israel would walk in obedience to the Lord for a while, but then, they would turn from the Lord, and instead of obeying Him, they would do what seemed right in their own eyes. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Wouldn’t you say that is how we Americans, and indeed, much of the world now lives?
When the people lived in obedience to the Lord, He never failed to bless them and their nation with success. However, when the people turned against Him, He placed evil leaders over them, and those leaders treated the people harshly, causing other nations to war against them, and often to rule over them. During these times of tribulation, when the people were oppressed, they would begin to think back on other times, when their people prospered, and it was then, that they would remember the Lord, and they would begin to follow His ordinances, and cry out to Him for mercy. And here is the most wonderful part — no matter how many times Israel turned her back on God, whenever she repented and cried out to Him, He forgave her and delivered her from bondage.
Now, Samuel was placed over Israel as a judge, and he was a good judge, who loved and served the Lord faithfully, but already, the people were beginning to turn from the Lord, as they looked to other countries. And when Samuel got old, he placed his sons as judges over Israel… the problem was, Samuel’s sons were not faithful to God like he was. They were completely and totally corrupt, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. So the people came to Samuel, and pleaded with him to give them a king, like all the other nations had.
Samuel tried to warn the people that a king would not be good for them, but the people insisted. They didn’t want the righteous Samuel to lead them any longer, nor did they want his corrupt sons to be their leaders, and Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice, telling the Lord everything.
“Do as they say,” the LORD replied, “for it is Me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want Me to be their King any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken Me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.”(1 Samuel 8:7-9 NLT)
So Samuel, though brokenhearted, did what the Lord had ordered him to do. “This is how a king will treat you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots. Some will be commanders of his troops, while others will be slave laborers. Some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, while others will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own servants. He will take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will want your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the LORD will not help you.”(1 Samuel 8:11-18 NLT)
Now with a warning like that, you would think the people would see that it would be better for them to serve the Lord as their King, rather than a man. But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20 NLT)
So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home. (1 Samuel 8:21-22 NLT)
So the people got what they asked for… They got King Saul, and if you read the scriptures, King Saul turned out to be a lunatic, and he did everything that Samuel had warned the people he would do…
So, what does all of that history have to do with 2013? I believe that the Lord has heard the cries of the majority of people in this country, and in other countries around the world, and He has given them the leaders they and we desire in our hearts. Those countries and our country, like Israel in the Old Testament, have rejected Almighty God, and chosen to do what seems right in our own eyes, and men and women throughout the world are reaping what we have sown.
Having said all of that, I do not believe that mankind is doomed. I believe that as long as there are men, women and children who do still love the Lord and serve Him, they will be lifting their voices and crying out to God for mercy, and He hears those who love Him. I believe that as long as Jesus tarries, delaying His return for the sake of mankind, there is hope…
The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent.
Even though the kings, presidents, prime ministers, senators and congressmen throughout the world do not pray the prayer that Solomon prayed in Psalm 72, all is not lost. What if the men and women of God throughout the world began to pray for their leaders, as scripture commands?
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.
I believe that if Christians all over will pray for their leaders and one another, God will honor their prayers. If we will join together in prayingPsalm 72over our nations and our nations’ leaders, God will answer our cries, just as He did in the days of old, when He spoke these words to Solomon:
“Then if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”
How about it, men and women of God? Instead of griping and complaining about the terrible state our country is in, why don’t we quit murmuring and complaining (God hates murmuring and complaining anyway)?Instead, let’s join together and humble ourselves and pray, for our president, our congressmen, our senators and legislators, the judges, and the kings, dictators, and rulers of other countries. And let each one of us examine our own hearts and repent, turning away from our wicked ways. Then, just watch and see how God responds to our prayers! For He is still the same God who parted the red sea, turned water into wine, cleansed the lepers, made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, and the dead to rise. He has not changed, and His eyes run to and fro throughout the entire earth, seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him… Let us join together in prayer for our countries, and then watch in awe, as God heals our lands, just as He promised to do.
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18 NLT)
Other people’s opinions didn’t seem to matter to Jesus. In fact, the ONLY opinion that mattered to Him was His Father’s, and if we’re to follow after Him, then that’s where our hearts must be also.
It is easy for us to get so caught up in trying to please or impress others, that we often lose sight of what’s really important. Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself, because I want to please the Lord, and yet, all too often, I find myself trying to please my pastor, or other members of the church, knowing that this is not pleasing to God… Not only do I end up not pleasing God, I think I even grieve His Spirit, and that’s just horrible.
Let me explain. Every year, at the beginning of the year, the pastor calls for a fast. Now, that’s not a bad thing, but has it become a tradition, a ritual, a religious act? I comply with this every year, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But here’s the issue I have with this – This is not something Holy Spirit is leading me to do, and I end up doing it merely because I’m a leader of the church and it’s expected of me. And throughout the 21 days of the fast (yes, it’s always 21 days), I struggle because I have not been led by the Spirit to do this.
It’s totally different when I hear the Spirit telling me to fast. Four years ago, when I went to jail to minister one Sunday, I was asked by the guards and the inmates to visit another inmate in her cell, who was having seizures. Now this was highly irregular. I am not normally allowed to go on the block, but the Lord was moving. I went back there, and as soon as I saw her, I knew that she was not merely having seizures. She was demonized.
It was amazing, because I felt no fear or nervousness in the situation. You see, I knew I wasn’t in charge. Jesus was totally in control, but although I bound those demons, I saw no change in this woman’s condition, and it grieved me. Later, after I left the jail, I prayed and I asked Jesus why the demons did not stop tormenting this woman, and I heard the Lord speak very clearly to me, “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.”
I went to two women’s retreats during that fast, and if any of you have gone on retreats, you know that good food and fine dining are a part of the fun, but I was okay. I went to restaurants with my friends, and we had a great time, and I wasn’t even tempted to eat, because the presence of the Lord was so strong in me and I didn’t want to do anything to quench His Spirit and what He was doing in me and for the women that I ministered to in prison. This was a fast that the Lord called me to go on, and it had a purpose – His purpose.
The next time I ministered in jail after this fast was completed, unbeknownst to me, the woman who I had ministered to before attended the church service. Now you need to know that I had never seen her in a church service before, nor since I had ministered to her in her cell, and I had only seen her the one time.
As I was ministering, I looked to the back of the room, and I began to prophesy to this woman. Her countenance was changed and I didn’t recognize her at first, until the Lord revealed to me that she was the one that I had fasted and prayed for. I looked in her eyes and I told her that I had been fasting and praying for her for forty days. As she began to cry, I told her that she wasn’t just having seizures, she was demonized. She nodded her head as the tears flowed, and told me that since that Sunday when I had ministered to her, she hadn’t had anymore seizures, but prior to that, for several months, she had been having seizures multiple times a day. I was amazed by what the Lord had done, and that He had given me the privilege of being a part of His kingdom.
So this brings me back to what I was talking about earlier… Somewhere in the four years since that time, I feel like I lost something that I’m just now starting to get back. I love my pastor and my church, but I love the Lord more. One of the things our church is so proud of is the fact that we are not traditional or religious, and we follow Holy Spirit, and yet, the truth is, we are human, and our pride in this has blinded us to the fact that like so many, we have become traditional and religious…
No, we don’t have bulletins and programs and rote prayers like some denominational churches, but we have become traditional in other ways… And please don’t think I’m dishonoring my church by speaking this way, because as I said before, I love my pastor and the members of my church very much. And the truth is, on this side of heaven, there is no perfect church yet, until Jesus returns from glory and separates the goats and the sheep… and helps us sheep get right too.
Here is where the real problem is… I have become traditional and religious and I have grieved Holy Spirit, and this grieves me. I hear the Lord saying to me, “I hate all your festivals and sacrifices. I cannot stand the sight of them! From now on, when you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look. Even though you offer many prayers, I will not listen. For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Let Me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.
“Come now, let us argue this out,” says the LORD. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:14-18 NLT)
I hear You calling to me, Lord, and I repent. Forgive me for grieving You, for trying to please everyone and offend no one, and by doing this, I offended and displeased You. Forgive me Lord and change my heart. I repent Lord and I humble myself under Your righteous right hand. I will fast when YOU lead me to fast. I will serve YOU first – help me to be attentive to Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.