“Blessed are the peacemakers,” (Matthew 5:9).  Jesus said.  The principle for peace is the same as the principle for crops–  Never underestimate the power of a seed.  Somebody in your world desperately needs a word of peace.  Want to see a miracle?  Plant a word of love heart-deep in that person’s life.  Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens. When God’s people had forgotten his name, he planted the seed of his own self in the womb of a Jewish girl.  The seed shoved away the stones of legalism, oppression and prejudice.  Then the stone … Listen Now

The next time you enter an assembly of worship, watch the people. You can tell the ones who remember the slain one.  They’re wide-eyed and expectant.  They don’t yawn while receiving a gift from the king himself! You can also tell the ones who see only the temple.  Their eyes wander.  Their mouths open—not to sing, but to yawn.  The temple gazers don’t mean to be bored.  But the one they once planned to honor hasn’t been seen in a while.  But those who have seen him can’t forget him.  They find him, often in spite of the temple rather than … Listen Now

Scripture says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  Note the order of this beatitude.  First, purify the heart, then you will see God.  You change your life by changing your heart. How do you do that? Jesus gave the plan in the beatitudes.  You admit sin—you get saved.   You confess weakness—you receive strength.  You say you are sorry—you find forgiveness.  Now you have something positive, and you want more.  Then comes mercy; and the more you receive, the more you give.  And you can bet that He who made you knows how to purify you—from … Listen Now

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).  Jesus says the merciful are shown mercy.  Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us.  The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace.  For it is when we forgive others, that we begin to feel what God feels. Those who taste God’s grace but refuse to share it are tortured by anger; choked by bitterness; and consumed by revenge.  But for the one who tastes God’s grace and gives it to others, the reward is a blessed liberation. The prison door is thrown … Listen Now

Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions, causing our blood to pump.  And our energy level to rise. There is a dangerous point at which our anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force.  That’s why bitter people complain to anyone who will listen. And, like cocaine, resentment can kill.  Physically– with high blood pressure and other conditions. Emotionally– with anxiety and depression.  Spiritually– as it shrivels the soul. Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner.  Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.  And … Listen Now

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). For what are you hungering and thirsting?   The way we clutch our possessions and our pennies, you’d think we couldn’t live without them.  The problem is, the treasures of earth don’t satisfy.  The promise is, the treasures of heaven do.  Blessed are those, then, who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Blessed are those who are totally dependent upon Jesus for their joy. Let today be marked by a deep hunger, a craving for God.  May you live this day thirsty… thirsty for … Listen Now

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus explained, holding up the wine.  These words recorded in Luke 22:20 must have puzzled the disciples. For generations, the Jews had observed the Passover by sacrificing lambs. It was enough to fulfill the law. But it was not enough to take away sins. Only God could offer an eternal solution. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”  So the thirsty come.  A ragged lot we are, bound together by broken dreams and collapsed promises.  We thirst for righteousness…a clean conscience, a fresh start, and a clean slate.  … Listen Now

The bandit of joy is Fear.  Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow.  His arsenal is vast.  His goal?  To create cowardly, joyless souls. We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, or popularity.  Only inward character creates courage.  And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes.  The result of this process is courage—“they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth. If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that … Listen Now

There is one word that describes the night Jesus came—ordinary.  The sky, the sheep, the shepherds—all ordinary. A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus.  You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church.  You can also enter the cave where a star embedded in the floor recognizes the birth of the King.  But you have to stoop.  The door is so low you can’t go in standing up. The same is true of the Christ. You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees. So…while the … Listen Now

God’s most powerful tools are the simplest.  Consider the rod of Moses.  God made a stick become a snake, then become a stick again.  Perhaps he can do something with stubborn hearts and stiff-necked people. Consider five smooth stones and an ordinary leather sling.  The soldiers gasped.  Goliath jeered.  David swung.  And God made his point.  Anyone who underestimates what God can do with the ordinary has rocks in his head. Consider the saliva and mud that became a balm for the blind. Once again, the mundane became majestic. We can learn a lesson from the rod, the rock, and the … Listen Now