Tag Archives: religion

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV)  Hallelujah! I love the words of Jesus! Have you ever noticed that He doesn’t think like the rest of the world? 🙂 I guess that would be because He is God. I can just hear Him “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:8-12 NLT).

Do you see? He doesn’t think like we do, so if we’re to grow in our relationship with Him, we have to change our way of thinking. Being poor in spirit doesn’t come naturally to people, and I think it surely doesn’t come naturally to Americans. We’re taught from birth that we can be and do anything if we work hard enough at it, and if we want it bad enough… We’re taught from childhood that we must strive for the American dream, that in order to be a success in life, you have to work hard, make and save lots of money, have a nice home and leave an inheritance for our children.

We’re taught to rely on ourselves and walk with our heads held high. We’re taught to be proud of our achievements… and then along comes this Word from Jesus… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Wow! What does that mean anyway? I know what a poor person is – someone who lacks. So if I’m poor in spirit, that means I lack something… And if I’m lacking something, I can’t be proud, can I? So what am I lacking? The truth is that I lack a whole lot. You see, apart from Christ, I lack love. Oh, I used to think that I loved, but it wasn’t until I came to Jesus that I really learned what love is. You see, God is love, and His love is not what the world calls “love.”

Most people will “love” you as long as you don’t disappoint them, but there’s a limit to everyone’s “love” apart from Christ. God, on the other hand loved me while I went my own way, thumbing my nose at Him. He loved me even though I rejected Jesus. Man, He even loved Adolph Hitler! His ways are not our ways.

And one final thought about love… His word tells those of us that love Him, that the only reason we love Him is because He loved us first!!! So, one of the things I lack without God is love, and without love, my spirit is very impoverished.

Another thing I lack is the ability to obey His commands. Apart from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit, it is impossible for me to obey God’s commands. Now, I could say that I obey some of the commands, but scripture says… the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws (James 2:10 NLT).

Do you see? Apart from Christ, our spirits are empty. But there’s more to this than that… How many times have we read or heard about celebrities living in lavish mansions, wearing expensive designer clothes and jewels, with numerous luxury cars and partying all the time, only to learn later that they were bankrupt. You see, they thought they had it all, and we thought they had it all, but they were living a lie. The same is true of everyone who lives without Christ in their lives. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “Well, that’s nice if Jesus works for you, but it’s not for me.” Isn’t that so sad? They are just as destitute as I am, but they think and live as though they have it all. They miss their blessing because they refuse to see themselves as lacking… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And then there are those who have it all… family and friends, money, wealth, careers and they place such great value in those things that they fail to see how poverty-stricken their spirit is. I think of the poor rich man in Matthew 19 who asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life, and he said that he had obeyed all of the commands, but when Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him, the man just couldn’t give those things up. Those things were just too important to him, more important than the One who could give him eternal life. He had filled his spirit up with other things and he couldn’t see that he wasn’t as wealthy as he thought. His spirit was barren.

Finally, let’s look at Jesus. His life amazes me. The King of glory… the King of kings and Lord of lords… the Alpha and the Omega… The Ancient of Days left His throne in heaven to come to earth as a Man. He didn’t come as a rich man or a king – He came as a poor peasant. He didn’t come filled with pride. He didn’t come to be served. He came to serve.

He came in perfect obedience to His Father. He was humble and meek. He knew that we weren’t smart enough to recognize how completely drained our spirits are, so He showed us by the life He lived. And in case we still weren’t smart enough to recognize it, He explained to us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

How awesome is that? Talk about turning things upside down! Many of the scribes and Pharisees and Saducees, the priests and the high priest, who thought they had it all and made life so hard on the people would not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Rather, those who recognized that they couldn’t do anything apart from the Lord, who cried out for Him to help them and save them, would inherit the kingdom. Ha! Praise God! Even those of us who are Gentiles get to inherit the kingdom of heaven when we recognize that we are poor in spirit.

Hallelujah! His ways are definitely not our ways! “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That’s me and I pray in Jesus’ name that it’s you too!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

A Love That Won’t Let Me Go – Part 2

Gomer lifted her twisted fingers to her sunken cheeks, wiping the tears that freely flowed, then looking at her tear soaked fingers, she silently mused, “I thought my tears had all dried up.” The wind continued to howl, and the small fire was slowly dying, as the brisk sound of footsteps brought Gomer from her silent reverie, causing a chill of fear to run up her spine. “O Lord, he’s back,” Gomer desperately prayed. “Lord, I know I’ve given You no reason to forgive me or to hear me, but please, please have mercy on me! Don’t let him rape me and beat me again tonight – please! Save me Lord!”

At the sound of his raucous laughter, Gomer scurried away from the fire, into the darkest corner of the room, hoping he wouldn’t notice her, as she shrunk down in terror. “Gomer!” the drunken beast called as he entered the room, “Come here,” he said as he fell down beside the fire. Fearfully, Gomer crept to him, being careful not to speak and send him into a drunken rage.  She knelt at his feet and waited for him to speak to her. “She won’t bring much with all those bruises and that bony body,” he mumbled to himself. “Stand up and let me look at you, Woman!” he bellowed, and though she tried, her bony legs didn’t have the strength to hold her up, and she crumpled to the floor, cringing as she waited for the first blow to fall.

“Please Yaweh!” Gomer desperately prayed silently, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds — they haunt me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner — yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me — now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to sinners, and they will return to You. Help me Lord!” It became apparent that he wasn’t going to hit her after all, and slowly, shrinkingly, Gomer lifted her tear stained face up to look at the man – her tormentor, as he gruffly handed her a piece of bread.

“Eat this,” he said gruffly. “You need to build up your strength.”

Fearfully, gratefully, Gomer took the bread, and though she was starved, she lifted it up towards heaven and thanked Yaweh, truly thankful for the first time she silently spoke these words to Him, Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all my iniquities, Who heals all my diseases, Who redeems my life from destruction, Who crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies,  Who satisfies my mouth with good things, So that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Then quickly, she gobbled the bread down before he changed his mind and took it from her, and when he offered her some water, she gratefully gulped that down too.

It had been many days since Gomer had eaten, and though she still loathed him and was fearful of him, she was also grateful for the food he gave her. “Got to build up her strength for a few days,” he mumbled to himself, as he drifted off to sleep in a drunken stupor. Gomer wasn’t sure what he had in store for her, but she knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good. Still, for the first time in who knows how long, she had some food in her belly. He would probably sleep for hours, so Gomer quietly slinked back to the dark corner where she had hidden before.

“Could it be that Hosea was right?” she whispered to herself. “Could it be that Elohim cares for me – even now, after all I’ve done?” Her heart traveled back to another time, shortly after she and Hosea were married, as they walked back to their home following a visit to Jerusalem. “Did you hear what they said about me?” she wept, as Hosea held her close.

“I heard,” Hosea replied softly. “Listen Gomer, it’s easier for people to condemn someone else than it is for them to look at themselves -”

“But they hate me!” she sobbed.

“Yes, they hate you, and they hate me because I speak the Word of the Lord. You mustn’t worry about what man thinks of you. Instead, see what our heavenly Father thinks about you. That’s far more important, and Gomer, He loves you with a love that won’t let you go. No matter where life takes us, no matter what we do, He will always love His children. He may have to chastise you and punish you for bad behavior, but He still loves you with an everlasting love, and so do I.” He stopped and lifted her chin, gently kissing her. “All Adonai wants, and all that I want in return is to have your love.”

“Gomer, I knew about your past when I asked you to marry me, and I loved you then. Now, you’re my wife, and you’re carrying my child in your womb, and I still love you with all of my heart. You are more beautiful to me now than ever, and I want to shower you with all of my love, so that you will never want for anything! Let people talk if they want, as long as we love the Lord, and as long as we have each other, let them think and say what they will,” Hosea said laughing and kissing her again, as they continued toward their home.

“O Lord, is it true?” Gomer whispered in the dark dreary little room. “Do You really love me with a love that won’t let me go? An everlasting love? How can this be? And is it really true that all You want from me is my love? Yaweh, I know I’ve been unfaithful to You, but I see now that You are all I have. And I don’t have anything else to offer You but my love. Lord, will You accept the love of a harlot?” Gomer whispered as she drifted off to sleep…

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – More Thoughts On, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!”

Yeshua said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!” (Matthew 4:19 CJB)

As I was getting ready to write on more of the words of Jesus, the Lord began speaking to my heart about what is involved in being fishers for men, and I realized that yesterday’s word was only a part of fishing for men. It’s not enough for us to share the good news with people – to catch the fish so to speak. You see, a fisherman’s work is not finished once he catches the fish. That’s only the beginning of the work.

The next thing a fisherman must do is scale the fish, and that’s a nasty job. You see, you have to grasp that slippery, slimy fish that you’ve caught and begin scraping against its grain with a knife to remove those scales. In the same way, a fisher for men must hold the person that has been won over by the Lord, and begin speaking the truth of the Word to that person, who may have scales over his/her eyes, thus blinding them to the truth about themselves and about the Lord. Warning! This is a painful task for both the person who has the scales and the one who is holding him/her up. There is always the danger of being cut. That’s why we must be very careful to let Holy Spirit do the scraping, while we hold that person up – praying and speaking only those words the Spirit gives us to speak, nothing more, nothing less.

The next thing a fisherman must do is gut the fish. Warning! This is a nasty, stinking but necessary task. Again, this is a surgical procedure that we allow Holy Spirit to perform, while we continue to hold the person up, speaking life and praying fervently for him/her. As painful as it was to have the scales removed from the person’s life, this is the most painful and crucial part of being a fisher for men. You see, there may be all sorts of lies that this person has absorbed in his/her life, not to mention the toxins that he/she may have ingested. And what about all of the things hidden in the depths of his/her being that must be gutted out?

Brothers and sisters, if we are to be fishers of men, we must be willing to complete the job, from start to finish. We must never leave the job partially done or the person’s new found faith may wither and die. We must continue to pray for that person, even though that person may try to slip away from Holy Spirit’s surgical procedure. We must continue to encourage that person while they are going through the very same procedure that each one of us went through, exhorting them and sharing the hope that is within each one of us, letting them know that in the end, they will be clean and new, as all of the odors and toxins are cleansed away, because one day, they too will become fishers for men.

May the Lord richly bless you today as you go fishing!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!”

Yeshua said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!” (Matthew 4:19 CJB)

As He walked along the shore by the sea of Galilee, Jesus commanded Peter and Andrew, James and John to follow Him, and He would make them fishers of men. What did He mean by this, and does it have any relevance to us today? If they decided to follow Him, their lives would change dramatically.

They would no longer spend their lives struggling to catch fish on the often stormy seas of Galilee for a living. Instead, they would be destined to spend their lives struggling to win souls for Jesus in a stormy mass of humanity. No more would they suffer the backbreaking work of pulling fish in and repairing nets. Their backs would now be broken by the lash of the whip. They would no longer have to worry about wasted days and nights when there were no fish to be caught. Now, they would labor for the salvation of men, who would many times reject the good news they shared.

The disciples had a choice to make, and they chose to forsake being mere fishermen, and to instead, become fishers for men. Brothers and sisters, you and I have been given that same command. We too have a choice to make. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He gave this command to all who would follow Him…  “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

If we want to follow Jesus, we must be willing to forsake everything we once worked for, and do His work instead, even though it will often mean pain and rejection by the very ones we are trying to rescue. Do you hear the Lord calling you today? If so, harden not your hearts, for if you follow Him, your reward will be great in heaven.

Yeshua is calling you, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!” (Matthew 4:19 CJB)

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers