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HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 5 (Mt.5:7) “Merciful”

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

DRINK IT IN:
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.”

THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST…THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST!

SWEAT IT OUT:

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

DRINK IT IN:
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.

SWEAT IT OUT:

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.


HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 3 (Mt.5:5) “Meek”


“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Matthew 5:5

DRINK IT IN:
Are you meek? The average person might respond, when asked this question, with, “heck no…I’m not meek!” This character trait, called meekness, is not one that the world determines to be of value. In fact, I would say, that the world believes that if you are meek you are weak. The world would continue to say, ‘If you are meek, then you are weak, which means you are going to get your butt kicked over and over and finish last.” Jesus would push back on this argument by saying, “The last shall be first.” Jesus also would say, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

So, I suppose the big question is this. Who’s right? Jesus, or the world? When “its” all said and done…does Jesus win? When the world is finished as we know it today, will Jesus have been right? I’m not a betting man…but this one is worth betting on! This is one bet I’m willing to go, “All In!”

Let’s get right to it. What is MEEKNESS?

Maybe a better way to understand what being meek is, is to first understand what it is not. An easy way to understand meekness, is to first admit, that JESUS IS MEEK. We know that Jesus was strong and had all the power of God, the Father. We know that Jesus got angry and made a whip and used it to whip people out of the Temple. We know that Jesus called the Religious leaders bad names. So meek does not mean weak. Meek does not mean, to remain quiet. It most definitely does not mean timid. Meek does not mean, never get angry. Meek does not mean to think poorly of yourself. It does not mean that you should think of yourself as of little worth.

Meekness does not demand to think poorly of yourself, I think meek simply means that you do not think about yourself much at all.

A meek person is a secure person. A meek person accepts that they, in the big picture of life, are small and do not have real control. A meek person knows that their Creator is great and totally in control. A meek person knows that they have been made in the likeness of their Creator. A meek person knows that they are a child of Almighty God and that cannot be taken away. A meek person knows that God doesn’t NEED them, but wants to know them and work together with them to bring a touch of Heaven to earth. A meek person does not have to defend themselves, because they are already secure in who God made them to be. A meek person believes in what God says about them and ignores what other people say about them.

A meek person can have unbelievable power and strength and could dominate any situation they wanted to control. But a meek person doesn’t have to control and they acknowledge this fact and are okay with it. A meek person understands the Bible passage that says, “Where I am weak, God is strong.” A meek person’s major goal is to do his/her very best to behave like Jesus Christ and leave the results up to God. To the meek, ALL CONTROL belongs to God.

I think that is a solid idea of what MEEK is.

Now what does Jesus mean when He says that the meek shall inherit the earth?

Some people are confused about what Heaven is going to be like. Some people are confused about what the end times are really going to be like. Now, the reality, is that none of us knows every detail, but the Bible does paint a strong picture of what Heaven is going to be like. Its pretty clear in the Scriptures, that when Jesus returns to settle the score once and for all with the devil, that everything on the earth is going to be destroyed. It doesn’t necessarily say that the Earth is going to be destroyed. Everything is going to be destroyed by fire. That means that God is going to rebuild. Re-new and re-do. Maybe its kind of like when God “destroyed” everything with the great flood. God started over. The Bible says that a New Jerusalem will be built and placed on earth. Sin will be destroyed. Our earthly bodies will be destroyed and we will be given new bodies for our souls to live in. The Bible talks about relationships, food, worship, no more pain, etc. etc. when it explains Heaven.

Its very easy for me to read the Bible, and be able to say, that Heaven is going to be just as physical and real as our lives are today. Heaven is earth renewed to what God intended when He first created it all from the very beginning. If you would like to do a very technical study on Heaven, then I would highly recommend Randy Alcorn’s book titled, “Heaven.” It will excite you about the realities of Heaven. Your expanded understanding of Heaven will encourage you to work on your meekness…because the meek will inherit the earth!

Be meek. It will be worth it. It might make you finish last here on earth…but…the promise is…the meek shall be first in eternity! Hmmm…not a bad deal. Call it delayed gratification. The average life span is about 85 years. Eternity is forever. I’ll trade 85 years of potential last places for an eternity of Champion.

Have you ever said this phrase…”Your day is coming?” That phrase can be spoken to both the non-meek and the meek. Which ever one you are or choose to be…Your Day is Coming!

Its your choice which one you want to be.

SWEAT IT OUT:

Are there areas in your life where you are not meek? Maybe ask a trusted person in your life to help you notice areas.
Are there things you are trying to control and/or force to happen?
Who have you been “dominating” lately in life? What can you do today to elevate them and show more meekness?

How would your day look today, if you chose to let God have all the control and you focused only on behaving in a way that honors God?

Maybe, an easy way to remember how to live today as a person of meekness, is to remember these two words.

HONOR & DELIGHT.

What if all day…you focused on “honoring” the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Jesus Christ & worked on “delighting” the people that God puts in your circle of influence?

Think that would make your day a good one? Ultimately it won’t matter if your day is a good one or not…what will matter is that you will be a person of Meekness.

If you are meek, then Jesus says you are Blessed!

Have a meek day.


HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 2 (Mt.5:4) “Mourn”

“Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4 (HCSB)

DRINK IT IN:

Have you ever truly mourned? It usually takes the loss of something in our lives to cause us to mourn. So, it’s fair for me to say that EVERYBODY at one point or another has mourned, right? I do not think this is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Those who mourn are blessed.” If that is the case, Jesus would have just said…”Blessed is Everybody!” Because everybody, sooner or later mourns. So what did Jesus mean when He said, “Those who mourn are blessed?”
Put on your thinking caps with me here.

Remember that BLESSED, in this instance, does not mean happy. It means, ACCEPTED. This passage could be translated, “God accepts into Heaven those who mourn…for they will be comforted.” The hard truth in this teaching of Jesus is the fact that God LOVES everyone, but He only ACCEPTS into Heaven those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior into their personal lives AND mourn. Big difference.

So what does Jesus mean in this passage? “Those who Mourn will be blessed, for they will be comforted.”

I think the best way to fully grasp what Jesus meant here, is to understand what I like to call, origins. In order to understand the origins of God, then we need to reexamine the very beginning of time. We do this by asking this question…what did God intend for mankind from the very beginning? When I say beginning, I mean, Adam and Eve. The Beginning! What did God intend for the world to be like? Let’s go to the beginning.

And so, God created Adam. He put Adam in charge over everything on the planet to manage and steward. Adam got to spend “face-time” with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s intent from the very beginning is for mankind to be up-close and personal with God all the time! Adam got to do some pretty cool things under the leadership of God. Adam actually got to name all the animals. I like to have fun thinking about how Adam started naming all the animals…one by one he got started on naming the animals with great creativity and energy. This early and energetic start allowed Adam to come up with names like, Hippopotamus, Duck-billed platypus, Giraffe, Elephant, Tyrannosaurus, Barracuda, Flamingo, Orangutang, Alligator, chimpanzee, and salamander. My opinion…about this naming task that Adam was given to do…it began to tire him, and much like any person, his patience grew thin as he looked down the long line of animals yet to be named. So instead of being creative, because creativity takes a lot of energy, Adam turned into, “Mr. Obvious.” He started naming the animals based off what they obviously did or at least what they looked like. Hummingbird, Road Runner, Grasshopper, Jellyfish, Red Deer, Stinkbug, and Woodpecker. So as the day wore on, and it is obvious that Adam got tired and grouchy and names began to shorten and we ended up with dog, pig, cat, rat, yak, Bee, Ant, Ox and in a grouchy last minute decision he named one an Ass! LOL

But…as the story moves forward…Adam, after naming all the creatures is still alone. God said at this moment, “Its not good for man to be alone!” And so he put Adam to sleep and in a miraculous move of creation, God creates someone just like Adam, but “better.” This new “creature” is a total compliment to Adam and is very similar but also different. She has “curves” that he doesn’t have. He is immediately very “impressed” and says out-loud to God…”WO–Man!” And God said…that works! Let’s call her Woman!

Sorry. Can we get back to the point please?

What I’m really trying to point out here is this. God was with Adam and Eve, face to face! Adam and Eve had no shame or embarrassment of any kind. There was no competition, no comparisons, no jealousy, no revenge, no hurt, no anger, etc. Animals and people were not afraid of each other. Perfect Community. No, greed, weeds, dirty deeds, or plastic surgeries.

God meant for it all to be perfect. Perfect community. Perfect relationships. Perfect life! That was God’s intent for the origin.

AND THEN CAME SIN. Freedom of choice turned selfish. Deception grew, jealousy and scarcity began to breed. Hurt…anger…murder…revenge. People taking advantage of each other. Sharing began to dissipate. Greed. In the lost face-time and community with God, people began to “re-group.” Racism formed, superiority complexes, gangs formed, cliques. Instead of share and love it became take and separate. Instead of give and share, it turned to keep and protect. Instead of work together, it became monopolize and dominate.

Every year that has passed since that first sin, it grows worse. Nearly 2000 years ago, the Apostle Paul warned of what times would be like as it grows closer to Jesus returning to break this world’s curse. Paul wrote in the letter of the Bible called 2 Timothy 2:3-4, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”

As Christians, we understand what God intended our lives to be, starting with creation. We also know what has happened to our world. We understand that each of us have contributed to the problem. All this causes us to MOURN. We long for the day that Jesus will return and make all things new. He will RE-new all things to the original intent when He returns. Until then, we watch the 10 O’clock News and it causes us to Mourn. We see infants born with unbelievable mal-formities and we see the curse of sin growing through disease and disorders of every kind…and it causes us to MOURN. We see a child being bullied because he is different, and it causes us to MOURN. We study our history and read about people who, under the name of Christianity, marched forth to rape, kill and murder muslims in the Crusades of old…and it causes us to MOURN. We see Muslims Extremists fly airplanes into buildings…and it causes us to MOURN. Lying, cheating, stealing, sexual deviation, and every other form of self-serving action…growing, and growing out of control and it all causes true understanders of the origins of God to MOURN.

Its almost maddening to simply read the paragraph we just read above. Its really out of control. How long will Jesus wait?

If you want to read a passage in scripture, only 11 verses long, that perfectly talks about what I mean by, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted,” then read Ezekiel Chapter 9 in the Old Testament. Notice what happens to those who are in the city who are “mourning.” How do the angels know which ones are mourning? It says they are the ones, “weeping and sighing because of all the detestable sins that are happening in their city.” The Lord commands the angels to put a mark on these people’s heads. Go and read what happens to the people who DO NOT have the “mark.” What happens to the people with the “mark?” (Grab a Bible and read it.)

There is something deeply inspiring about this story of Ezekiel 9. The “Mark” that is given to those who are “MOURNING” is written on their foreheads. The people with the mark written on their foreheads are promised that they will be saved/comforted while everybody else is annihilated. The cool part of this story is the actual “mark.” The mark is the Hebrew alphabet letter called the Tav. The Tav…in Ezekiel’s time…when drawn on the foreheads of the people who were mourning…is this. Here is the “Tav” as it was written on the foreheads of the people in Ezekiel’s time. Today we know this symbol to be the sign of the CROSS!! This story happened nearly 600 years before Jesus dies on the cross. The sign of the cross that was written on the people’s heads, because they were mourning, “saves” them and comforts them from the wrath. (Do you see the prophecy in this story?)

So…eventually Jesus shows up on the scene and teaches about those who mourn and how they will be blessed. The people who mourn today, do it because they know what the world SHOULD be if it weren’t for sin. Those who mourn have a deep desire to live in the “God intended world.” Those who mourn understand this. Those who mourn will be comforted. Those who mourn will be the ones accepted into God’s Kingdom of Heaven where they will live just as physically as we do today, but in a renewed world. The world renewed as God had originally planned it to be. That is something worth mourning for!

“Blessed are those who Mourn, for they will be comforted.”

SWEAT IT OUT:
As you dwell on the depth of this one sentence that Jesus said, I hope you will focus on what ultimately has caused those who do mourn, to mourn. It is sin. So in this short devotion, I hope you will do some practical things to help you be in a better “up-close and personal” relationship with God, right now. We don’t have to wait until Heaven to have some up close and personal time with God. Your relationship with God won’t fully be what you would like it to be until eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven begins. Don’t forget, though, that God wants us to bring some Heaven to earth right now. If He didn’t, He would not have taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH…AS it is in Heaven! So here are a few things to do, to bring a taste of Heaven to earth right now.

First of all…are there any sins that you are continually practicing that are causing you extra pain and regret in your life? 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Are you being Greedy, arrogant, rude, selfish, drunk, sexual deviation, continual overeating, jealous, revengeful, judgmental, etc? If so, confess them and stop committing them.

You should be mourning this world right now, and wishing it were what it is supposed to be. So why don’t you contribute to the “what it is supposed to be?” There are a lot of people who suffer extra because of this “fallen” world. Jesus tells us what to do for these people. Feed them, clothe them, visit them, give water to the thirsty, care for the orphan, etc. Join a local church that is actively doing these things and participate yourself. Find somebody in your circle of influence who is struggling because of our world’s condition. Help them in anyway they need help.

If you have secrets in your life…those secrets are the beginning to sin and destruction. Admit the truth and accept the consequences and be free in the eyes of God. Forgiveness is real. Its not easy, but it is real.

Something to think about…Do you MOURN the current status of our earthly condition? If you do not…are you okay with that? Have you become hardened and cynical and sarcastic? I struggle with having a hard heart sometimes and also with sarcasm and cynicism. Those are not traits we should be proud of. Practice what Philippians 4:4-8 says. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Think about those things that are lovely, admirable and worthy of praise. Then the God of peace will be with you.” This world SHOULD make you mourn. If you do not, something is not right with you and your walk with Christ. Until Jesus returns there should be at least a little mourning going on in your life…an ache for what life is supposed to be.

The world we live in right now…was not meant to be this way. Someday Jesus will return to restore it to its intended condition. Make sure you are ready. What a world its going to be! I am hoping to see you there and spend eternity with you. If you don’t know for sure that you are going to spend eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven, then we need to talk. Contact me and we’ll get this all straightened out. It will be more than worth it.

“Those who Mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted.”


African Monday…

What a day.  It was this time last week that I was packing for this trip and today takes me through the halfway mark.  The way this trip has been organized is perfect.  It seems that every other day is an emotional roller coaster.  That was yesterday.  So today was a day of physical strain.  I am wiped out.  

First of all, last night after I had finished blogging such a long post and went to my room, brushed my teeth and went to bed.  However…I started to get complacent and used a little water from the bathroom sink faucet to brush my teeth.  Didn’t think about it until 3 am when the stomach starts telling me that something abnormal is growing in it!  I got up…took a “cipro” which is a stomach and intestine antibiotic…spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom…(you don’t need details do you?!)  So its needless to say…if you can do the math…that I got a total of about 2 hours sleep last night.  After a couple of hours the Cipro did its job and I am totally fine now!

So we got up early and headed to what is called “The Rock”…it is a towering moutain that really only takes about 30 minutes to get to the top because it is straight up.  Many places they have permanently fastened ladders to the mountain because of the extreme slope.  The view from the top overlooking the African plains is breathtaking.   I also was completely inspired to lose about 20 pounds off my bod.  I am starting now.  Eat less for dinner!  Repeat at Breakfast and Lunch too.  Hopefully that works.  
If you want to see images of “The Rock” Just google The Rock in Torroro Uganda.  

Once we got back down the mountain we grabbed a late breakfast and had an all group meeting to get the rest of the day planned.  There were several options and so today I chose to keep it physical.  I went to a local village school and simply helped clean and paint a new building that was just built to expand the villages school.  Sounds pretty simple, but you mustn’t forget that when we “Muzungo’s” show up…you get 50 little kids swarming around you wanting to touch you and play with you.   They are fascinated by the hair on my arms.  I saw two 8 month olds today who had never seen a white man.  They screamed in utter terror.  The mothers just laughed and try to calm their infants.  Of course I had to try to get the infants to relax by smiling and approaching them again…but it didn’t work.  Complete terror.  Oh well.  

That’s what I did all day…painted and took breaks to play with the kids of the Jubba Village in Uganda Africa.  

I am in Africa!  I really have fallen in love this mystical place and even more so its people.  On the way home we stopped in the city square of Torroro.  It is a very busy place.  Some of the group stayed on the bus, the medical team with us went into a pharmacy warehouse and bought some medications for helping some African people and I took the few moments we had to wander down to the local market store and buy an Orange Fanta!   It is quite a strange feeling to be walking about hundreds of people and be the only white one!  I loved it.  The people in Africa love to greet you.  Little children will come up to you to shake your hand and when you do shake it, they go to their knees as a sign of respect and kindness.  Its strange, but its their culture.  

I wonder how I can get my wife Kelli to do that!?  LOL

Well…I’m back at the hotel and I’m going to try to catch up on some lost sleep from last night.  This trip will soon be over…and I know that Africa will forever be in my blood.  I so want to return as soon as I can and bring some of my family with me to experience what is such a remarkable and mysterious place. 

Trent