What are you hungry and thirsty for? (EL)
The Extraordinary Life
Weekly Devotional Email
For Sunday, February 12, 2017
John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Dear Church Family,
Two weeks ago, in our study…
Two weeks ago, in our study we addressed the powerful force of ‘fear’. We looked at a legend from India that tells about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That took care of his fear. Until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was content, till one day he met a tiger. And so, once again, the magician changed him into what he feared. But when the tiger came complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help.
“I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.”
Does this story remind you of anyone?
We talked about how we typically try to approach fear. We approach it through acquiring possessions, gaining popularity or by gathering as much power as we possibly can. But none of these really remove our fear, they barely hide it.
So how do we move forward beyond fear?
In John Baker’s book, Life’s Healing Choices, we see the following process outlined very simply. This process of moving forward can be easily seen by comparing it to the strategy of our military forces used in World War II. In the Pacific when they freed an island from Japanese occupation, they used the same strategy on every island and it worked nearly every time.
Phase I: Softening Up
First, the planes would fly to the island that had been taken captive, and they would start dropping bombs and various explosives. This part of the strategy was called the “softening-period.” Many of us are in the softening-up period right now. All kinds of explosions are going off in our life, sending fragments everywhere. We find ourselves saying, “Life isn’t working anymore, and quite honestly, it hasn’t been for a long time.” We may have come to the point where we’re saying, “Yes, I need something beyond myself. I need help. I need God in my life.”
When all these elements are in your life, you are in the ‘softening-period’. This is a very significant time. It is during this time that are you going through difficulties that cause you to turn your attention and your faith to God rather than yourself.
Phase II: Establishing a Beachhead
In the second phase, the marines would establish a beachhead.
It may have been only twenty years deep and two hundred yards wide, but they would get a presence on the island. By establishing the beachhead, had they completely liberated the island? Nope.
The beachhead was just the beginning. It was from the beachhead that they began to fight the battles. Sometimes they would move one hundred yards forward, and sometimes they would get pushed back fifty. Sometimes they won the battle, and sometimes they lost. But everybody knew that once they had established a beachhead, total liberation of the island was inevitable. In the history of WWII, once the marines landed and established a beachhead, they never lost and island. It was just a matter of time until the entire island would be set free.
When you make this decision to give up control, God establishes a beachhead in your life. It doesn’t mean that everything in your life will all the sudden become perfect overnight. But it means that God has a presence in your life; He’s got a beachhead. For the rest of your life He will be setting you free from your hurts, from your pain, from your regrets, from your addictions, your bad habits – little by little.
It’s a process. It begins by become meek. It begins by allowing your strength to be under the control of our God and Savior.
This Sunday’s principle as we look deeper into the blueprint for the Extraordinary Life is ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Can you imagine living a life where you are satisfied? What a beautiful way to live life – completely satisfied.
We all hunger and thirst for something. Think about it. What do you hunger and thirst for? More money? More popularity? More success? More recognition? More pleasures? We all hunger and thirst for something.
The progression in the beatitudes are vitally important. First, we are to be ‘poor in spirit’. In other words, we are to recognize that without Christ in our lives we are hopeless. With Christ in our lives the kingdom of heaven can be ours. Second, we are to ‘mourn’ our imperfections. When we come face to face with our past regrets, failures & mistakes we can then be comforted by our Heavenly Father. Then, as we reviewed earlier in this email, we looked at being ‘meek’ and that leads us to giving up control to God. Once we do that we can thing work on transforming our minds to hungering and thirsting for righteousness which we will study more about on Sunday.
The pathway to The Extraordinary Life…
Jesus gives us the pathway to this life in His sermon on the mount. This week we focus on Matthew 5:5.
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Bible Verses we’ll study together on Sunday…
Romans 3:10-18 (NLT)
10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one.
11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “They rush to commit murder. 16 Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18 “They have no fear of God at all.”
John 8:44 (NIV)
… He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:32 (NIV)
Then you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free.”
John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I Corinthians 15:33 (NCV)
Do not be fooled. Bad friends will ruin good habits.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,… 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
John 8:37 (NIV)
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
Questions for Personal Growth and Discovery…
- What do you think of when you hear the word ‘righteousness’?
- Why is it so hard to hunger and thirst for righteousness?
- What lies about yourself have you believed in over the years?
- Read Romans 12:1-2. What do those verses mean to you when it comes to serving God?
- What is one things you can be grateful for today?
- What is a promise from God that is found in the Bible that encourages you?
Making the most of this study…
As we continue this study here are some ways to make the most of this study:
- Read Matthew 5:1-12 daily over the next few weeks.
- Memorize our theme verse for this new study listed above (John 10:10 NIV).
- Prepare your heart for next Sunday’s message with this weekly devotional email (if this was forwarded to you by a friend or loved one and you would like to be included, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office).
- Have questions during this study? Email them to email@example.com or text them to (541) 530-4912.
- Resolve now to be with each Sunday in our study ‘The Extraordinary Life’.
- Pray that God will help us understand the truths found in Matthew 5 that he will enable us to live the extraordinary life that He intends for us to live.
This Sunday I’m praying that God would work in your life!
God bless you!
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