NOT FOR GIRAFFES

Matt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Matt. 5:5 Blessed are the humble,

for they will inherit the earth.
The kingdom of God is quite different from the kingdoms of this world. Actually, the character of a kingdom starts at the top with the king, that’s why the kingdom of God is so different. Jesus is our king but quite a different kind of king, We catch a glimpse of this at His interaction with Pilate. “Are you a king?” Pilate asked. He sure didn’t look like a king, His followers ran away, He had been beaten beyond recognition. He had no palace, no army, no great wealth; how could He possibly be a king? Jesus answered the question in a most unusual way, “My kingdom is not of this world”. What was He saying? What could He mean? He was clearly saying He was a King but a very different kind of a king. Like Paul said, “the kingdom of God is not meat or drink (not physical) but it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.

Revival brings us face to face with this upside down kingdom, its not what everyone expected. Here is a glimpse of the kingdom at Azusa from an eye witness Frank Bartleman.

“No subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time, and no special speakers for such an hour. No one knew what might be coming, what God would do. All was spontaneous, ordered of the Spirit. We wanted to hear from God through whoever he might speak. We had no “respect of persons.” The rich and educated were the same as the poor and ignorant, and found a much harder death to die. We only recognized God. All were equal. No flesh might glory in His presence. He could not use the self-opinionated. Those were Holy Ghost meetings led of the Lord. It had to start in poor surroundings to keep out the selfish, human element. All came down in humility together at His feet. They all looked alike and had all things in common in that sense at least. The rafters were low, the tall must come down. By the time they got to “Azusa,” they were humbled, ready for the blessing. The fodder was thus placed for the lambs, not for giraffes. All could reach it.”
That really says it all, the fodder is for the lambs, not the giraffes. Jesus was like a lamb led to the slaughter, lets follow in His steps of meekness and humility.

Pure Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Matt.5:8
Have you ever really thought about this promise? No, really! Just think about it for a moment. This is a promise to be able to see God. I think of it like this, this enables me to see God in every part of my life; in the small things, the really big things, and even in those most difficult moments. To see God consistently in my life makes all the difference in the world. It takes away the fear and the second guessing, it allows me to enjoy life and know that He has my back all the time. But this brings us to the next question, how do I get a pure heart? Actually the pure heart is a gift that we receive by faith. The Lord promises to take away our “stoney heart” and to replace it with a heart of flesh, a new heart. This is the new birth or what Jesus called being born again. But here comes the tricky part, we have to walk in this new life consistently to experience these benefits. When we walk by faith in this newness of life, that’s when we see God. Luther spoke about this verse in a practical way, pureness of heart in the real world. Check this out.
“Some dreamers claim that in order to have a pure heart, people have to hide in a corner, enter a monastery or convent, or seek the solitude of the desert. They claim people shouldn’t think worldly thoughts or spend any time on secular matters. Instead, all their thoughts should be about heaven. These dreamers deceive both themselves and others with their mistaken notions. They lead people astray and do a lot of damage. Scripture talks about having pure thoughts and a pure heart in a way that is consistent with being a spouse, loving and caring for your family, and doing everything a parent does. In fact, God insists that we fulfill these responsibilities. Whatever God commands can’t be impure. In fact, it’s this very purity that allows us to see God.

Even dirty and unpleasant work, such as shoveling manure or washing diapers, is pure and holy work if it comes from a pure heart.”
I really relate to this. After all, I worked my way through Bible School with one of those manure shoveling jobs (literally). That is where I learned how to practice this verse, keeping my heart pure and seeing God in the everyday events of my life.