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Monthly Archives: February 2012

HYDRATE –WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 8 (Mt.5:10-12) “Persecution”

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
Matthew 5:10-12

When was the last time you were persecuted for being a follower of Jesus Christ?

Now…don’t misunderstand me here. Please don’t be like the people who stand out on street corners and yell from their megaphones, spew hate by picketing military funerals, or demand that people follow Jesus. These groups of people think they are honoring Jesus. They get more ‘pumped up’ when they get arrested, make the news and stir up controversy, because they think they are facing persecution on behalf of Jesus for doing good. This is not a biblical thing. This is not a holy thing. This is not something that Jesus did. These groups or individuals will state that their 1st Amendment rights give them the right to behave the way they do. They are right in the fact that legally, their 1st Amendment rights allow them to behave this way. However, the “laws” of God take priority over the “laws” of the land. In this case, they honor their 1st Amendment rights and dishonor their Lord and Savior. Jesus was always very kind and gentle to the people who were far from Him. I think that Jesus would use a mega-phone to let these kinds of people, who are behaving this way on street corners, know that they are actually doing harm to the Kingdom of Heaven…but I think He would “one-up” them…He would use a whip!

So, back to my question. When has your holy behavior landed you in “hot-water?” When have you been demoted for standing for Jesus in a gentle way? When did you not get the promotion because you refused to do things “under the table?” When were you left out of the circle of friends because you keep the “bar” to high? When were you last seen carrying your Bible to a lunch break to spend time with God? When was the last time you actually had to pay more taxes because you refused to lie about your income? When was the last time you dropped your ego and actually agreed to go to marital counseling with your spouse? When was the last time you got flipped off because you simply refused to drive ‘that’ fast? When was the last time people rolled their eyes at you for leading your family in prayer before your meal at a nice restaurant? When was the last time you gently spoke your biblical opinion about a hot “political” topic during a discussion about abortion, illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, or other “hot” topics? When was the last time you took one of your Saturday’s off and helped a neighbor in need? When was the last time you “persecuted” your bank account and personal lifestyle because you chose to give 10% of your income to the Lord’s work? The questions could go on for miles, but I think we get the idea.

Persecution comes in many forms. I’m simply asking when was the last time you faced any on behalf of Jesus Christ?

The following is a passage in Scripture that explains what happened to some Christians a long time ago for taking a stand, in love, for Jesus Christ.
“But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
(Hebrews 11:35-40, NLT)

Would you take 30 seconds and sit quietly and see if God would remind you of an area(s) in your life where you could take a gentle, stronger stand for Him? And If you do, take a gentle stronger stand for Him, it might have you being a bit persecuted?

I pray for you that you will take that gentle strong stand. I pray that you will be persecuted for doing it. I pray that you will be happy about it. I pray you will be glad about it.

For if you do…You know that the Kingdom of Heaven is Yours.
Well…that is what Jesus says.


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

If you have children, what would you actually do for them in a time of crisis? If you are like me, then you would do anything to protect them, help them, encourage them, shape them. I think its instinctual. If God created the bear and the lion and He also created you. He’s only one artist. He created you with some similarities as the bear and the lion. Have you ever heard any stories about a person coming across a momma bear or lioness when their “kids” are around? They mean business. Its the same for you. You could be one of the most gentle and quiet people on the planet. But put your kids around you and then introduce a little danger in the form of other people or a criminal and its like you jumped into a phone booth, stripped off your regular clothes to expose a super hero ready to do some serious damage in the name of protecting your children.

God is a parent. If God made you in His image to be like Him, then you and God have similar qualities. God designed it that way. I think that God is willing to do just about anything to honor, and do what is very best for His children.

So, the question is; Are you a son or daughter of God?

Some may say, “yes, Trent…I prayed a prayer back when I was in Jr. High and gave my life to God.” My reply to that is, show me in the Bible where someone prayed a prayer and then, from that point on, is considered a child of God. I don’t want to be to cynical here, but please let me save you some time by telling you that, such a Bible verse/story is not in the Bible.

How do I know I am a son or daughter of God?

According to Jesus in this fist sermon He ever preached, He says that you need to be a PEACEMAKER to be considered a son or daughter of God. How serious is this? This is what is called a “salvation issue.” You have to agree with me that in order to go to Heaven you have to be a son or daughter of God. Agree? Jesus then says, that in order to be s son or daughter of God, you have to be a peacemaker. Agree? Then to summarize this line of thinking, we must be peacemakers in order to go to Heaven. You must be a peacemaker to be saved. Agree?

Jesus’ brother has something to say about this. James wrote, in James 3:18, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

I want to be more of a peacemaker. I have found this to be a personal challenge that is difficult. I am an intense person of passion and I most definitely don’t like the status quo. I like to get to the underlying issue of things instead of talk about the surface level of life. So many people, when I speak with them, feel that I am prying a little to hard into their lives. This causes walls to go up. It doesn’t help that I’m 6′ 3″ and 220 pounds. I do boxing workouts. I run 5 miles every other day. I speak the truth and like to be direct. I enjoy making the bully “sweat.” Does that make me a bully to the bullies? Does this disqualify me from being a peacemaker? What a dangerous situation. I must guard all this more carefully. I wish Jesus would have never said this thing about peacemaking. But He did.

So, what about you? Are you a peacemaker? Before we get too discouraged at our answers, let’s make sure we are defining peace the right way. Jesus says that there are different kinds of peace. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

But hold on! Jesus also said in Matthew 10:34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

Is Jesus arguing with Himself? Is this what some call a “biblical contradiction?” The answer is a very clear, “No.” The answer is that there are different kinds of PEACE. As I write this, last Sunday was the Superbowl. We watched the underdog New York Giants beat the New England Patriots. At Half time of the Superbowl, Madonna performed and at the very end of a pretty good performance she had the floor light up with a great big flash of production and it said, “WORLD PEACE.”

Is this what Jesus is talking about when he says, ‘Blessed are the Peace Makers?” It would be impossible for Him to mean this. Because he also said that He did not come to the world to bring Peace but a sword. And I would say…”He did a good job of that.” Every since Jesus arrived and left this planet, there has been division and chaos. Want proof…march into your local public school and start talking about Jesus to the students. I’ll bet your circumstances won’t end in what could be called a peaceful ending. As Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 10:35-36, “I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be in your own household.” Jesus meant it, didn’t he?

How can Jesus say, “Blessed are the Peace-Makers,” when He says He didn’t even come to bring Peace, but a sword?”

He can only say that if there are two kinds of peace. 1. What Madonna calls “World-Peace.” 2. What Jesus calls, “Peace of Heart.”

I think, according to Jesus’ personality and style, the peace He refers to has nothing to do with tranquility, as in no war because every human being just loves one another. That is the dream of mankind. Its a worthy dream. Michael Jackson rounded up pretty much every music celebrity back in his day and they performed a song together that went like this. (I’ll be you can’t read it without singing it in your head!) “We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving…When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all. But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall, Let us realize that a change can only come, When we stand together as one” (You started singing it didn’t you!?) In order for this kind of peace to become a reality in the world…then evil would have to be completely removed from the planet. As long as evil is real there will never be the kind of Peace that Madonna or Michael was hoping for.

So, that leaves us the kind of Peace that Jesus gives. Simply put, His kind of peace is best defined this way. “The ability to be calm and confident because you trust that God is in control even in the middle of total chaos.”

We, on occasion come across people like this. We see them in the news. They have stories of Heroism and selflessness. In the middle of absolute chaos they somehow remained strong and confident and calm. Now…I don’t know if Jesus is the one that provided them with this kind of confidence or not. Jesus is not the only one who can provide this kind of peace. You can train for it and not include Jesus in it. You could be naturally confident and ready for action in any situation and be seen as a peaceful person, without Jesus. You could be missing some common sense in your life and therefore not naturally think about dangerous consequences and thus seem to be able to stay calm in scary situations. None of those have anything to do with Jesus, yet you are a person of “peace.”

What I’m trying to say here is that there are all kinds of people who have the Peace that Jesus is referring to and many of them do not have it because of a relationship with Jesus. What I’m saying here is that if you want to be considered a son or daughter of God then you have to let Jesus live inside of your heart and mind and when chaos is ripping all around you, you rely on His peace and calm that He provides because you know He is in control.

When you let Jesus have total control over every detail of your life, then whatever you encounter that isn’t peaceful, that is dangerous, that is scary, you have the ability to remain at peace and in self-control. You are at peace even in the middle of tragedy and chaos. You are able to stay “peaceful” even when your own death might be staring you in the face. Because God is in control. You don’t let the fears of the world control you. God controls you. In the face of insecurity, when someone is verbally attacking you or mistreating you, you don’t have to lash back, because your security is in God and what God says about you.

Peace…Jesus’ style…is the ability to remain calm and collected in the middle of Chaos because you acknowledge that Jesus is in control, no matter the results of the situation. Peace…Jesus’ style…doesn’t mean you just lay over and never challenge back or stand up for what is right. Don’t forget that Jesus is a peacemaker and yet He made a whip and whipped people out of the temple, and He called the Pharisees horrible names. Being a peacemaker…Jesus style…doesn’t mean that you have to be a wimp. It means there is a steadfast strength about you. Being a peacemaker means you are a well-rounded balanced person. Just like Jesus. Strong and gentle. Tough and kind. Offensive and defensive. Sly and innocent. Aggressive and peaceful. Truth and Love. Justice and Mercy. Get it? If you still want a strong picture of the kind of peace that I’m referring to here, then read the Bible story of the crucifixion of Jesus. I can’t think of a more horrible thing to go through than a Roman Crucifixion. So, read the Bible’s account and pay special attention to the attitude and demeanor of Jesus while this horrible thing is being done to him. You will see a man at peace with WHO is in control.

There are stories of women who have been raped and abused over and over but they survived it all and have been saved from that situation and they talk about the peace they were able to have in the middle of all the horrific things that were happening to them. They give credit to Jesus and the Bible. One lady tells the story of how she wrote a powerful Bible verse on her ceiling above the bed. And day after day, she would read the Bible verse above her bed while being raped and trusted that God was real and that she would be okay through all this. What a story of strength and victory. This lady tells of her story, as a story of victory today and about the goodness of God compared to the evil of mankind. There are stories of “tragedy” all over the world where Christians had unbelievable atrocities happen to them, yet they tell the stories as if they are stories of victory! How inspiring! What a witness to the power of God. What a witness to the PEACE of Jesus Christ being lived out by His sons and daughters.

What’s your worst nightmare? What could happen to you that makes you think you couldn’t handle it? I encourage you to think about it and prepare for it to happen in your mind and determine that you would be okay through it all. What is the alternative here? Worry, Stress, Fear, Doubt, Control problems, Nervousness, Anger, Hurtful reactions, etc.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be prepared for anything and therefore never be caught off guard. If you are caught off guard and in a moment of weakness do something really stupid, then you harm the witness of Jesus Christ. The Bible is full of teachings about the sons and daughters of God needing to always have their wits about them. We are always one decision or one reaction away from blowing our credibility with God and with other people. Every decision we make…matters. So…

Be prepared.
Be a Peace-Maker.
You will be considered a son or daughter of God.
There is no greater title.

“Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they will be sons/daughters of God.”


The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8

Do you want to SEE God?

Can you imagine seeing God? I have so many questions for Him. I have so many ideas of what God looks like. Again, I have so many questions. To see God, would change so many things wouldn’t it? Or am I just speaking for myself?

Some people say, “Seeing is believing.” Well…I believe and I have not “seen” God. I think my faith is strong now and I haven’t seen God. I wonder how much stronger my faith would be if I actually saw God? I wish God would just show up and let me see Him. I’m guessing you wish that too. I wonder if I would fall flat on my face in fear if God showed up, physically. Bottom line though…Is…I WANT to see God.

Jesus tells, in this passage I am referencing today, how I can see God. He says, BE PURE. Jesus gets even more specific. He says, ‘Pure In Heart.” The pure in heart will see God. Let’s face it, the heart is where everything comes from. Now scientifically some would argue that everything starts in the brain. I’m okay with that. But are you positively-absolutely-for sure that everything starts in the brain. I like to think that the heart is where something spiritual resides and medicine and science will never be able to explain it. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 talks about how all the wisdom/knowledge of the world will never be able to explain how God works. God actually calls all that knowledge, foolishness.

So…I say…everything starts in the heart. Want an example? If you have what is typically called a “foul-mouth, potty-mouth, or simply a bad-mouth,” I don’t think you do…I think you have a foul-heart, potty-heart or simply a bad-heart.” Jesus actually backs that thought up by saying in Matthew 15:18, “But the words you speak come from the heart–that’s what defiles you.” I don’t want to go into detail on this now, because this is a teaching coming up soon in this Hydrate Series.

But, there it is. Jesus says, what comes out of your mouth actually originated in your heart.

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY WILL SEE GOD! And so…I am working on “The Pure Heart” thing.

I wish there was this great formula or a 3 point sermon for Purifying Hearts. There is not. Well…I’m sure there’s a 3 point sermon about it…but it will be laughable. Some people say naively, “Just read the Bible more and your heart will become more and more pure. I want to believe that, but that would be like saying, “You want to have a really sharp sword, just read the manual on how to sharpen swords more often and it’ll get sharper!” In my not so humble opinion, purifying your heart is like sharpening a sword, purifying gold or having a perfect diamond.

Swords get sharper when they go through heat, and friction.
Gold becomes more pure when it goes through the smelter, over and over and the impurities slowly get burned out.
Diamonds are in their most desirable state after they have been cut and polished.

So…How do I get a pure heart?

First, give your life, your thoughts, your actions, your words, your mind, your ideas, your everything to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. Read and study what Jesus commands of us and practice living it all daily. Then…LIVE ON! Now…Introducing…LIFE! It will come at you hard and it doesn’t care if you make it or not. Life will work you over and spit you out. This is called refining, smelting, cutting, polishing. So, its gut check time.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus’ brother in the book of James writes, “Consider it pure joy when you go through trials and suffering.” (James 1) Was James nuts? Or…did James understand how purity happens? Trials and Suffering are friction. Trials and suffering are smelters. Trials and suffering are where you get cut and polished. The book of Job chapter 23 verse 10, it is written, “I shall come out as GOLD after He tries me.”

Sounds simple enough, right? NOT! Whoever said that Christianity is a crutch for the weak, is a clueless-wonder to what Jesus really asks of His followers. A person who says that Christianity is a crutch, is a person who has obviously been hurt deeply by somebody who declares themselves to be a Christian and continues to let that “christian” cause them to stumble. I won’t apologize for that person. If you think that Christianity is for the weak, then I want to tell you to stop using people as your example. Stop following people. Start following Jesus. He’s not weak. He’s not a Hypocrite. Quit putting so much reliance on how others treat you, become responsible for your own study of truth and make a decision. People will always get in the way. If someone in your life keeps getting in the way of your heart being pure, then remove yourself from the person. Quit following that person. Quit blaming that person. Here’s our tough reality. The people who were supposed to be following Jesus are the ones who actually killed Jesus on the cross. Now, don’t forget…Jesus chose to go to the Cross. If Jesus didn’t want to die for you, He would have walked from the cross and nobody could have stopped Him. But…the ones who were supposed to follow Jesus were the ones who drove the nails that fastened Jesus onto the cross. Quit following people. Quit letting people cause you to stumble. Toughen up, follow Jesus and quit using people as your scapegoat as to why you don’t want to face the truth. I have personally found that most people who think Christianity is a crutch for the weak, have never even read the Holy Bible. Read it first…then…we’ll chat.

Since I am mentioning imperfect people getting in our way of us following Jesus. I’m choosing to do a Confession time. I have, many times in my life, found some very real and dark corners in my heart. All you need to have happen, to discover these dark corners of your heart, is a little hurt. Or a lot of hurt. That hurt turns into anger and before you know it, you have thoughts coming from your “heart” that would make a criminal sweat. Or am I just speaking for myself here? I’ll just try to speak for myself. I’m pretty sure…I could be a sniper. I think I could put a bullet through an enemies head and not lose one ounce of sleep over it. So many people think that all pastors are just lovey, dovey wonderful and kind, nearly perfect people. You know what I think about that? I think…NOPE!
The men and women God used to lead His people back in the Bible times were a rough and tumble bunch. One of Jesus’ Apostles was from an order of people that are called the Sicari. They were known as a group of assassins. I don’t have time to go into that detail, but just google it. Peter, tried to kill a man with his sword when the group showed up to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas was just bad in so many ways. Let’s go way back. Elijah killed 800 prophets of Baal back in his day, and God took Elijah straight to Heaven without having him die first. There are a lot of “not-so-goody-twoshoes” kind of people that God used and uses to lead His people. I admit that I can be one of those…in my heart.

Now…I know…I know…I feel you wanting to preach to me right now. The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. You don’t have to preach to me about how much love I’m supposed to have for all people. I agree. I love all people. I wouldn’t be a pastor if I didn’t love people. I am just tempted…at times…to be a sniper! LOL



Purity of heart. It seems that some people are just born with a pure heart. Its not true…people are not born with pure hearts. I have personally found that people who have pure hearts are people who have payed a large price of pain for that pure heart. It always seems like the pure in heart are gentle and kind and loving. I have found, when I asked those who are pure in heart about their life story, that their story is one that breaks my heart. These people, with refined, smelted, and polished pure hearts, now look back on their lives and can thank God….NOT FOR THE PAIN…but thank God that He helped them THROUGH THE PAIN. These people have now, “Come out PURE AS GOLD.”

Do you really want a pure heart?
Knowing how much pain is involved in getting a pure heart…I’m tempted to say no.
But if I don’t have a pure heart, then I know that I will never see God.
I want to see God.
So I will pray this prayer to God. Maybe you would pray it with me right now too? “Lord…I want to have a pure heart. But…Lord….PLEASE…as you turn up the heat on my life to refine me, smelt me, sharpen me and make me PURE…PLEASE DO NOT TAKE YOUR HAND OFF OF THE THERMOSTAT.” In Jesus name, AMEN.

I will end this post now…and as you step out today to continue your refining, smelting, sharpening, polishing and PURIFYING…take great confidence in 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure!”

I love that passage. So…bring life on! Whatever it takes for you and me to see God…bring it on! Right?
And when we have lived our lives through this life process of purifying our hearts…then…with pure hearts… you and I will go together into the presence of Almighty God.
What a cool day that is going to be.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”


“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Matthew 5:7

Do you believe the phrase, ‘What goes around comes around?” Its obvious that Jesus believes in it. Read His phrase above again. It may as well say, “What goes around comes around.” Jesus also is the one who preached The Golden Rule; “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.”

But here is my fear. Jesus showed Mercy…pretty much…to everybody, and it landed Him on the cross. But before He ended up on the cross, He was rejected, spit upon, beaten, humiliated and ultimately murdered…as an innocent, merciful man. How did all His “mercy” work for Him? Not so well.

So, is Jesus out of His mind when He teaches this stuff? Was this phrase that Jesus taught, in the very first message He preached, just a rookie mistake. The answer is clearly, “No!”

The big question is…if you and I live a life of giving others mercy, who is going to give it back to us? Because the reality is, many people, if you give them mercy, will shove it back in your face in an unmerciful way. So what is Jesus talking about?

If you think about Jesus’ life, He showed mercy to everybody, through the action of dying on the cross, to pay for everybody’s sins. However, prior to Jesus’ merciful action of dying on the cross, Jesus didn’t always show mercy. The people He didn’t show instant mercy to, were the religious-arrogant ones…the bullies. Jesus promoted the progress and purpose of others…unless you were a bully. Jesus publicly humiliated the bully of His day. The Pharisees, the Religious leaders, they were serious power-mongers over others. Jesus had some choice words for these kinds of people. He called them “Sons of Vipers, White-washed tombs, hypocrites.” (The snake/viper was the ultimate derogatory term, it was a cuss word. Adam and Eve were deceived by a “snake.” To be called a “son of a viper”…was to be called a devil.) And He did it publicly. So…hear me out. Jesus tells people that they will be blessed if they show mercy. However, Jesus is NOT telling them that they HAVE TO be merciful. He is simply saying that if you are merciful you will also get some mercy back. He really is saying, “What goes around comes around.” Think about it….Jesus didn’t show mercy to the hypocritical religious leaders…and sure enough…those hypocritical religious leaders were the ones who instigated killing Him. “What goes around, comes around.” He didn’t show public mercy to the religious leaders and they are the ones who put Him on the Cross. “What goes around, comes around.” Another look at this…Jesus did show mercy to Judas, but Judas ultimately didn’t give mercy back to Him. Judas betrayed Jesus in return for all of Jesus’ mercy. I don’t think Jesus was talking about any guarantees of receiving mercy in return for giving mercy, when He said, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be given mercy.” So what the heck did Jesus mean by saying this?

I think Jesus’ statement of “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” is talking about God being the one who will eventually show you mercy. I think you will agree with me, that merciful actions today, do not guarantee merciful actions in return. Its a beautiful thing when it does happen, but its also not the end of your world, if it doesn’t. Isn’t it better to go ahead and show mercy anyway? Jesus doesn’t say you HAVE TO show mercy. Jesus didn’t always show mercy Himself. But isn’t it better to show mercy anyway? Isn’t that the high road? It’s, most definitely, not the easy road.
So it’s fair to say that ultimately, by the time the cross had done its lethal Job, Jesus had shown mercy to everybody. His act of giving His life on the Cross in replacement for the death of each of us, is the ultimate act of MERCY. We call it Grace. Grace and Mercy are close relatives. However, its also fair to say, that in Jesus’ 33 year life span, He didn’t always show mercy to those He encountered.

So when Jesus says, “Blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown Mercy,” I think He’s guaranteeing something in our future. By future, I mean Eternal. Heaven! Remember in this first message that Jesus preached that “Blessed” does not mean happy. Blessed means “Accepted.” So we could read the teaching this way, “Accepted are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” He could have simply said, “The merciful will go to Heaven.” Jesus isn’t saying just because you are merciful today, that you will receive immediate mercy now. It sure didn’t work that way for Himself. Think about this…

If you are a person of Mercy in our world today, you are going to be taken advantage of. You have to agree with me that merciful people are nice people. In our world today, “Nice people tend to finish last.” Nice people are also known as naive people. Nice people are known as pushovers. Nice people get gossiped about for being soft and lacking business savvy.

Do you think Jesus cares when you get grouped in with those stereotypes? You Bet He Does! And when He returns, you will receive the advantage. You will be the leader. You will be first. You will be seen as wise. You will be known as the persevering one. You will be the one who will be known as brilliant, and as having incredible “business savvy.”



So what are you living for? Are you “putting all your eggs in the basket of living your best life right now here on earth, without any focus on your eternal life? Your eternal life will be just as real to you as your current life, except it will be eternal. Which one is more important?

Don’t get me wrong. This life is deeply…deeply important. How you live your life today is a choice of how you want to spend your eternity. Remember this…God does not send anyone to Hell. God only honors your choice of how you lived on earth. If you want to live your life on earth with the characteristics and actions of Hell….Greed…un-forgiveness…being a bully…being a jackass…being selfish…power hungry…etc, then God will simply honor your choice and when you die, He will simply extend your life choices into eternity.

However, if you choose to to live your current life and so choose to live as a person who brings the elements of Heaven to earth, like showing mercy…giving forgiveness…peace…patience…kindness…faithfulness…love…etc, then God, when you die, will extend your life choices into eternity and thus you will live in Heaven forever.

When you think of it that way, who cares how you get treated today simply because you choose “good” behavior! Bring it on! Right?

Today, no matter how you get treated, choose to be the one who brings the elements of Heaven to earth.

Be prepared for today. Think right now about who you are getting ready to encounter in the next 8 hours or so. You know most of the people you are going to encounter. So prepare yourself, right now, for the negative encounters. Choose to show mercy, even if its not given to you. Its only the negative encounters you need to prepare for. If you prepare for them now and make a choice to give mercy even when its not given to you, then your day will be one of power and love and serving.

That sounds a lot like the life of Jesus.
I think its going to be a good day.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Maybe He doesn’t mean you’ll get mercy today.
But I guarantee that He means you’ll get mercy in Eternity.

Show Mercy…sooner or later…it will all “pay off!”

What a great day ahead of you.
Be merciful.

HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 4 (Mt.5:6) “Righteousness”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Have you ever been out on a walk or a drive and you pass through the invisible waves of Bar B Que aroma floating out of someone’s back yard? It catches your attention immediately. I think it might be my favorite smell on the planet. Its almost torturous to smell such an aroma when I’m hungry. The smell nearly causes my mouth to water and my stomach to growl. When there is ample food available, I think one of the greatest feelings is when my stomach growls and I know that I am getting ready to eat something delicious. I just love to eat! You too?

Another powerful feeling is the desire called thirst. I grew up on a farm in Kansas and I remember the couple of times that I ran out of water to drink while out driving the farm tractor on those hot summer days. I was never in trouble of becoming dehydrated, but I remember the desire of thirst growing intensely when I had to wait for a couple of hours for my dad to drive out to the field to check on me. He would always have an insulated container with ice cold water in it. When he would arrive on the field I remember the strong to desire of wanting to get my hands on that ice cold water. Thirst is a powerful desire.

So it makes sense when Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

Jesus said things like, “Man cannot live on bread alone.” He also said in John 4:34, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”

I wish I could give you some quick formula that would help you increase in your hunger and thirst for God. There is no quick formula. Its something that we grow into. Did you notice that these first four phrases, that Jesus mentions in His very first sermon that are recorded in Matthew 5, show a PROCESS of maturity.

The first step is being “poor in spirit.” This means being totally dependent on God. The next progression that Jesus mentions is being a person that “mourns.” This means recognizing that the world is not what God meant for it to be and it actually saddens you and causes you to long for what Heaven is. The third progression towards spiritual maturity is living a life of “meekness.” This means that we don’t focus on our own lives very much because we are serving others. When we are growing in these areas of our lives, then what is actually happening, is God is helping us to be in constant Hunger and Thirst for Him…which causes us to want to please Him and we know that righteousness is a key element in pleasing God.

“Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

When you hunger for Chocolate…what do you constantly focus on? Chocolate.
When you thirst…what do you constantly focus on? Your favorite beverage.

Hunger or thirst are actually focus! What we focus on is what we give our priorities to. Our priorities are what we commit to. What we commit to, is what we become.

You and I will become what we are committed to.

If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, then we focus on living right. When we focus on living right, then we do right. When we do right, then we make a strong impact on the circles of influence around us. When we have a strong impact on those around us, then we are living a life of purpose and significance. Living a life of purpose and significance is fulfilling. If we are fulfilled, then our lives are full.

Jesus says…”you will be filled…if you hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He’s not saying anything profound here. He’s speaking common sense.

Its not that Jesus sends some magical blessing down upon us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. He is simply saying…we will become what we are committed to. What you hunger and thirst for you focus on. What you focus on, you become.


So, here is the deal. If you are frustrated with where your life is headed, isn’t it fair for me to ask you to inspect where your hunger and thirst is? Where is your focus?

If you struggle in determining where your focus is, then I want to share with you a short-cut to help you determine the undeniable truth as to where your focus is.

Do a quick peak at your CALENDAR. What are you spending a major portion of your life doing? You might say “work.” That’s okay. Work is a blessing from God. I’m not asking you to make God the “First” priority in your life…I’m asking you to make God the “Center” of everything you do. There is a difference in First and Center. If God is first in your life, then every time you go to work you are going to feel like you are letting God down because you are focused on work. So, the solution is to make God the center of your life and then no matter where you go or what you do, God is always in your central focus. Make sense? So, again, what are you spending a major portion of your time doing?

Another quick short-cut to help you determine where you focus is, is to take a look at your Bank Account expenditures. I’m not asking you to do this to make you feel guilty, I’m simply asking you to measure where you spend a majority of your money. It will help you understand where your priorities are. I do challenge you to set aside and give to God a minimum of 10% of all your income. This is something that God asks of every one of us. It is a part of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This kind of generosity is good for you. That’s why God asks us to give it. Your giving not only helps you stay selfless, but also helps meet the needs of many that Jesus commands us to help. You should give this tithe/10% to a ministry that is clearly focusing on Hungering and Thirsting for righteousness.

Are you a part of a local church that focus’ on teaching and learning the Word of God and pushes you to serve others using your strengths and talents? Keep looking until you find the right fit. When you do, jump on board fully.

Take a few moments to rate yourself in how you are doing with the first 4 phrases of Matthew 5. Use a scale of 1 to 10 to show how you are doing in each one. Is one weaker than the others? Focus a little more on that one weaker one. Keep growing in the ones you are doing well in. You should be pretty balanced with each one. They should all be a strong and growing reality in our lives.

Focusing on the key elements I mentioned above are a critical factor in living a fulfilling life.
I hope you will commit to moving forward in all of these starting now.
Make your day today one of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.