Jesus is Knocking. Will I Answer? (Enjoying the Presence of God)

Rogue River Trail-Rockford, MI (Photo by: Mark J Booth)
Rogue River Trail-Rockford, MI (Photo by: Mark J Booth)

The Christian life encounters many pitfalls. One unsuspecting pitfall is that we lose the joy of being a Christian.  We become lukewarm in our relationship with Christ.   Prayer is routine.  Bible study is a chore.  Our worship has become cold and formal. What has happened to our lives?

There was a church in the New Testament that had these same problems.  Jesus spoke these words to the church at Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”(Revelation 3:15-16)  This church was religious, but they no longer enjoyed Christ’s presence. They had lost a vibrant relationship with their living Lord.

What was Christ’s answer to their problem? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Christ was telling the church that they were leaving Him out of their lives.  He politely was knocking on the door of their hearts; so that they would once again enjoy having fellowship with Him.

Chateau-Abbadia (Southwestern France)Photo by: Mark J Booth
Chateau-Abbadia (Southwestern France)
Photo by: Mark J Booth

 A meal in Bible times was a time-consuming event where people enjoyed talking and listening to one another.  Jesus longs for this kind of communion with us.  Have we opened the door?  Christ has prepared a meal for us with His presence and blessings. Have we sat down and taken the time to enjoy His presence?  He is waiting. 

When we take the time to enjoy Christ’s presence, we will view life and our circumstances from a totally different perspective.  We will see life as God sees life.  We will see our problems as God sees our problems.  God has prepared a banquet for us. Here is what He offers to us as take time to enjoy His presence.

1. We have guidance in our life.  “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me;” (Psalm 43:3a) The question is often asked: “How can I know the will of God?”  To understand the will of God means more than following a formula, but we follow the Lord.  As we commune with the Lord, we will discover what pleases Him and what doesn’t please Him.  God’s greatest priority for our lives is that we know Him.  His light and truth will guide us. 

2. We enjoy true worship of God. “let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” (Psalm 43:3b) The Psalmist in the midst of all that was happening in his life saw the importance of worshiping God. Worship is not to please ourselves, but to please our Lord.  He desires worship because He is worthy of our worship.  Our worship is bringing glory to God in all that we say and do.  When we worship God, we recognize His presence and majesty.  

3. We have joy in spite of the circumstances in our life.  “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy:” (Psalm 43:4a) The Psalmist faced many trials in his life which caused him to become to discouraged and depressed.  He understood that in God’s presence there is great joy.  No matter what is happening in our lives, if we remember that God is with us, we can experience a joy that is not based upon circumstances, but based upon a relationship.

4. We have an attitude of praise.  “yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” (Psalm 43:4b)  We often give praise for the blessings that we receive from God, but what about giving praise to the giver of those blessings.  When we enjoy God’s presence, we will focus upon all that God is.  We will praise HIm for His attributes and titles.  Every day, we should take the time to praise God for all that He is and does.

5. We have a contented spirit.  They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” (Psalm 36:8)  A lack of contentment is a warning sign that we are not enjoying God’s presence.  When we are walking with God, we will be totally content. When we are close to the Lord, everything else will fall in place. 

6. We receive comfort from God. I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) Comfort is not based on circumstances, but upon our relationship with our Living God.  His rod shows his protection against our enemies.  His staff shows His guidance and help in our lives.  When we have His protection and guidance, we are sure of His comfort and love even in the most trying times. 

Enjoying God’s presence begins with salvation, but it continues for all eternity.  We enjoy His presence as we listen to him, communicate with Him, meditate upon Him and pour out our heart unto Him.  Are enjoying His presence today?

“Dear Lord, my life often becomes filled with the routine.  I have lost the joy of being Christian. I haven’t taken the time or effort to enjoy your presence.  Thank you for knocking on the door of my heart.  Thank you for your desire to fellowship with me.  I now open up the door of my heart to you.  Please come in!  I know that the greatest joy in life comes from being in your presence.  Amen.”

Have I Forgotten Him?

The Canadian Rockies-Photo By: Mark J. Booth

During this time of year, everybody is busy.  Maybe, we are too busy.  We can easily forget Jesus Christ in all that we are doing.  Jesus longs to keep us close to Himself.  He longs to walk with us daily.  We get busy with family, friends, work, and even church and we can quickly forget Jesus Christ.

  • I look for salvation, but I forget the Savior.
  • I look for comfort, but I forget the Comforter
  • I look for blessings, but I forget the One who Blesses.
  • I look for promises, but I forget the Promised One
  • I look for guidance, but I forget the Guide.
  • I look for provision, but I forget the Provider
  • I look for protection, but I forget the Protector
  • I look for love, but I forget the Lover of My Soul.
  • I look for strength, but I forget the All-Powerful One.
  • I look for peace, but I forget the Giver of Peace.

The early church also had a tendency to forget the Lord Jesus Christ.   The Book of Revelation was written to seven churches.  Five of these churches showed some definite signs of forgetting Jesus.  Here is a verse that can refocus our thoughts and affections upon Our Lord Jesus Christ.  “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

1. Jesus Christ is Our Deliverer.  “And from Jesus Christ”  The name “Christ” is the word “Messiah” in Greek.  This word has the idea of deliverer.  Jesus came to deliver us from sin, death, and the devil.  We no longer have to live under the penalty and dominion of sin because we have a new life in Jesus Christ.  We have new life in order to pursue a close love relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus Christ is our Faithful Witness.  “who is the faithful witness”. Jesus came to earth primarily to die on the cross for our sin; however, He also came to teach us the truth.  Through Him, we learn the truth about God, ourselves, the future, the way of salvation, and many other important subjects.  Our relationship with Christ enables us to see God and life more clearly.

3. Jesus Christ is the Conqueror of Death. “the first begotten of the dead”.   As a pastor, I have done many funerals.  These funerals are sad occasions; yet because of Christ’s resurrection, we know that there is hope.  Death, for the believer in Christ, is the doorway to the presence of the Lord and Heaven.  We don’t need to fear death when we walk with the One who conquered death.  

The Garden Tomb-Jerusalem: Photo by Mark J. Booth

4. Jesus Christ is Sovereign.  “the prince of the kings of the earth.” Jesus is greater than  any earthly ruler.  No matter what happens in our nation, we know that Jesus is ultimately in control.  One day, Jesus Christ will return to earth to reign over all those who have believed upon Him.  The whole Book of Revelation is about the events before and after His coming.   No matter what happens in our lives, we can remember that Jesus is ultimately in control.

5. Jesus Christ is the Source of Love.  “Unto Him that loved us,”  We don’t deserve His love; yet He loves us.  The more we know Him, the more we will understand His love and the ways of His love.  When we are full of anxiety, fear, discontentment and discouragement, these are signs that we have forgotten Jesus Christ and His great love for us. 

6. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.  “And washed us from our sins in his own blood.”  As the song writer wrote: “Nothing can wash away my sins, but the blood of Jesus.”  Jesus took our place on the cross.  His love is a love of action.  He not only tells us that He loves us, but He showed His love by dying on the cross for our sins.  He alone saves us from our sin. “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

Many in the early church were religious, but they had forgotten Jesus Christ.  Have we forgotten Him?  Have we forgotten all that He is and has done?  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

“Dear Lord, I have the tendency to forget you amidst all that goes in my life.  I may seek what you can give me, but I forget you.  Help me, to seek you above all else.  Thank you for all that you are and all that you have done. Amen”

Aubrey Oberlin: In the Everlasting Arms

Aubrey Joy Oberlin

What can you learn from a six-week old baby?  I would have never thought about this question until I met Aubrey Joy Oberlin.   I met her for the first time a bit over two years ago. when I heard about her plight. She was born with a genetic disease called Junctional EB (Epidermolysis bullosa).  This disease was painful as it affected all parts of her body.   Her parents, family and friends did a great job of loving her and taking care of her for her six short weeks of life.  Aubrey’s life on this earth ended on November 17, 2010. However, she is far from being forgotten.

1. The first lesson that I learned from Aubrey is contentment. When I visited Aubrey, she always had her eyes opened.   I knew she had trouble breathing and she was in pain, but in all my visits I never detected a complaining or angry spirit. Her eyes were saying: “Could you please help me. I don’t feel well.”   Her eyes convicted me of how easily I complain when things don’t go my way.  Though she didn’t say it with words, her eyes showed me a form of contentment that I need to experience more often in my life.  “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

2. A second lesson that I learned from Aubrey is my need of dependence upon God.  “I just want to hold her one last time.  Aubrey loves to be held!”  As I heard these words from Aubrey’s grandma the day of Aubrey’s entrance into God presence, I couldn’t help but feel sorrow and compassion for a dear family who would never again be able to hold their beloved daughter in their arms.  It also brought to remembrance a verse in the Bible that has brought comfort to many people: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

Aubrey’s loved ones had a great desire to hold her in their arms and show their great love for her.   Likewise, Our Heavenly Father loves us and longs to keep us close unto Himself.   His arms are all-powerful arms, yet His arms are also tender.  His arms bring great comfort and protection through whatever trials and pains that we face. His arms will never tire in holding us.

Aubrey did love to be held in the arms of those who loved her.  She felt the love and comfort from those loving arms.  As I thought about this,  I realized that at times I haven’t longed to be held by Our Heavenly Father.  I choose to go my own way.   Yes, His arms are reaching out for me, yet I often resist those loving arms.   May I learn to rest assured in the arms of Our Loving Heavenly Father, even as Aubrey rested so comfortably in the arms of those who love her.

3. A third lesson that I learned from Aubrey is priority.  Being with Aubrey during her last day on earth was very difficult.  She would labor to breathe.   This went on throughout the day until finally later in the evening her heart stopped beating.  Aubrey showed me that truly I need to remember to place the things of God first in my life.  Life is brief.  Every day is a gift from God. Will I live each day for God’s purpose and His Glory?  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

4. A fourth lesson that I learned from Aubrey is gratefulness for God’s salvation.   As I would speak to Aubrey’s loved ones, I was glad that I could share Bible verses about Christ’s love for the world and how he died on the cross for our sins. Aubrey never had an opportunity to believe (because of her age), but the Bible does make it clear that she is present with the Lord.  David expected to see his baby in heaven.   “Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?  But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12: 21-23)

Two years ago, we said goodbye to Aubrey.  She is now in God’s presence.  I can’t always understand the ways of God, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to get to know Aubrey.  She was an excellent teacher while she was with us!

P.S. For further information on Epidermolysis bullosa please see: http://www.debra.org

Imagine….Being with Jesus

The Garden of Gethsemane-photo by: Mark J. Booth

Imagine…being with Jesus!  What would my life be like, if I had walked with Jesus two thousand years ago? Yesterday, I read 1 John 1:1: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” As I read this verse, I had the desire to place myself in the Apostle John’s sandals.  I imagined walking and living with the Savior during His time upon the earth.

“Which we have heard.”  Imagine the things that John heard as he walked with Jesus.  He heard the Sermon on the Mount, the Parables, Christ’s teachings about His Second Coming, and the Upper Room Discourse.  Can you imagine what it was like to hear Jesus praying.  As John travelled with Jesus, he probably heard Jesus talk about His Father, His creation, history and many other topics.  John never lost the wonder of listening to Jesus.  What about me? Have I lost the wonder of listening to Jesus?  Am I eager to listen to the His words in scripture.

Which we have seen with our eyes.”  Imagine the things that John saw as he walked with Jesus.  He saw the feeding of the five thousand, the calming of the storm, many healings, the resurrection of Lazarus, and many other miracles.  He would have also seen Jesus embracing the little children, and showing love to the outcasts.  What about me?  Have I lost the wonder of the works of Christ.  Am I able to imagine seeing those wondrous deeds of Jesus that John saw?

“Which we have looked upon”.  Imagine joining John and looking upon Jesus on the cross.  John saw the suffering, the ridicule, the crying out from the cross, the words of encouragement to the one thief.  Then three days later, he would behold this same Jesus, who had conquered death.  John witnessed the most important act in human history. Jesus died for the sins of the world. His life would be forever changed.  What about me?  Have I lost the wonder that God, the Son, came to earth and died on the cross for me?  Have I lost the wonder of the resurrection of Christ?  Have I lost the wonder of the greatness of my salvation?

“Our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” Imagine John leaning on the Lord’s breast during the last supper.  Imagine the embraces that Jesus gave John during their time together.  Imagine Jesus holding John up with his hand as John stumbles while walking.  What about me?  Have I lost the wonder of the fact that Jesus touches my life in many ways, whether through His Word, through His Holy Spirit, or through other believers?  Am I looking forward to one day when Jesus will embrace me in heaven?

“Lord, thank you for these words of the Apostle John.  You used them to help me see that I often lose the wonder of all that you have done, said, and promised.  Teach me, to imagine being with you as John was with you.  Help me not to read the gospels as a disinterested bystander, but as one who is walking with you.  Amen”

Moving Beyond Bitterness to Forgiveness

Canadian Rockies-Photo by: Mark J Booth

“I can’t forgive them.” “What they did to me is unforgivable.” “I won’t ever speak to them again.” ” I can’t forget how much they hurt me.” What do all these statements have in common?  They show an individual who has a bitter spirit.

Bitterness has destroyed many people because it enslaves them to the object of their bitterness.  They have no freedom to enjoy their walk with God and others.  A bitter person can infect their family, their workplace or even their church with their attitude.  “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews 12:15)

God has not only given us a cure for bitterness, but He has also modeled this cure.  This cure is called forgiveness.  The word forgiveness means “to send away”.  The idea is that we throw the bitter attitude out of our lives; never to retrieve it again.  “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Ephesians 4:31)

God gives us three reasons to cast out bitterness and embrace forgiveness.

1. Christ has forgiven us.  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)  No matter what anybody has done to us, it is nothing compared to all of our sinful offenses towards God.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is a great illustration of the above truth.  The landowner forgives his servant an enormous debt; yet this forgiven debtor is unwilling to forgive his follow servant a very small debt. (Matthew 18:21-35)  How can we talk about God’s mercy and not share that mercy with others?

2. Christ commands us to forgive others. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.(Colossians 3:13)  A bitter spirit is a disobedient spirit.  When we forgive a person in our heart, we are walking in obedience to Christ.  

3. Christ is our example of demonstrating forgiveness.  When Christ was being mocked upon the cross, He didn’t respond with anger and bitterness.  He called out to His Father: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) When we forgive those who have hurt us, we are acting like our Savior.  These people didn’t ask Christ to forgive them, but yet Christ poured out His forgiveness towards them.

Forgiveness is difficult for us because we think that the offended party  is “let off the hook”.  In reality, we are let off the hook.  We are now free to live our lives without being controlled by our bitterness.  God shows us the following blessings of extending forgiveness to others.

  • We have a testimony before others. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11)
  • We show God’s love towards others.  Charity “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
  • We will have a joyful heart. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
  • We will enjoy true Christian fellowship. “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 2:10)

Forgiveness is our choice.  We can continue to feel hurt and embittered, or we can choose forgiveness.  The offending party may never ask for forgiveness, but we can forgive them in our heart.  Many persons have lived a miserable life because they chose not to forgive someone.  Is your bitterness worth it?

“Dear Lord, you felt the pain of rejection, hatred, misunderstanding and ridicule; yet you forgave.  Help me, to forgive those who have hurt me.  My bitter spirit has not only hurt me, but those around me.  I have lost the joy in my life.  Lord, in my heart I now forgive _____________.   Thank you for your forgiveness towards me when I don’t deserve it.  From now on, help me to exercise love towards even those who have hurt me. Amen.”

NOTE: This is the sixth post in the series “Moving Beyond”.  Please check out the other posts in this series.

Enjoying Life or Enduring Life?

Evening Sky-Photo by: Mark J. Booth

The jail cell was damp and cold.  The quality of the food was dismal.  The Apostle Paul didn’t know if he would soon be executed.  How could he enjoy life in the midst of such dismal circumstances?

The Apostle Paul faced many trying times in his life, but he enjoyed life instead of enduring life.  Many of us no longer enjoy life. We complain about our circumstances. Self-pity controls our thought patterns.  Anxiety keeps us from enjoying God’s presence.  We have the idea that enjoying life is based upon our circumstances.  Paul’s circumstances were dismal in the Roman jail; yet he enjoyed his life.  Let’s look at why Paul enjoyed life even while he was suffering in a Roman jail.

1. Paul enjoyed his life because he had a purpose in life.  “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1)

Many people don’t have a life purpose.  They have a vague idea that they should be doing something for themselves, for their family. and for their community; however, they have no real purpose.  Paul enjoyed his life because he had a purpose!  His purpose was to serve His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Paul enjoyed life because he knew that he belonged to the King of Kings. Paul wasn’t pulled in many different directions.  He received his directions from Christ.  He even understood that his time in prison was for the glory of His Master.  He wrote in another letter.  “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ”.   We will enjoy life when we live each day in light of the fact that “I am a servant of Jesus Christ”.

2. Paul enjoyed his life because he experienced God’s grace and peace.  “Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2)  

Paul wasn’t alone in his jail cell.  The Lord was with him.  Paul enjoyed his life because he was aware of God’s presence even in the most difficult of times.  God’s grace enabled Paul not only to survive in his trials, but also to thrive.  God’s peace gave him the knowledge that no matter what was happening in his life, God was in control.  We enjoy  life when we experience God’s grace and peace in even the greatest storm of our life.

3. Paul enjoyed his life because he invested his life in others“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,” (Philippians 1:3)

Even in prison, Paul was ministering to others.  He wrote his letter to the believers at Philippi to encourage them.  He was willing to sacrifice his life for others.  He prayed for others.  He shared the Word of God with others.  He loved others.  Paul didn’t focus upon his problems, but he used his problems as a means of ministering to others.  There is great enjoyment in seeing God use us in the lives of others.  We minister to others through our testimony, our prayers, our words of encouragement, our expressions of love, and our sharing the truths of God’s Word.

4. Paul enjoyed his life, because he understood that his trials brought glory to God.  “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12)

Paul’s time in jail was part of God’s overall plan.  God used Paul as a witness to the many people with whom he came into contact.  God also used Paul’s imprisonment to encourage other believers to go out and share the gospel.  God doesn’t allow things to enter into our lives for our harm, but for the good of ourselves and others.  We can enjoy life when we surrender to God’s purpose for our trial.

5. Paul enjoyed his life because he knew the future.  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Paul showed joy even in facing death, because he knew that death was the door through which he would enter heaven.  We enjoy our life on earth when we live for Christ and keep our focus upon the eternal reward that waits for us in heaven.  When we live our lives for ourselves, our focus is upon this life alone.  Paul saw the big picture, do we?

“Dear Lord, I often feel as though I am enduring life.  I focus on my problems.  I focus on my needs.  I focus on the faults of others. Thank you for Paul’s example to me of a man who enjoyed his life in spite of the dire circumstances he faced.  Please help to enjoy my life in you regardless of the circumstances that I face. Thank you for your great patience and love towards me.  Amen”

Moving Beyond Anger to Meekness

Elbow Lake in Alberta, Canada-Photo by: Mark J. Booth

Anger is a common human emotion that negatively affects us and others.  Anger often leads to emotional, social, spiritual and physical problems in our lives.  We would like to control our anger, but we constantly fall back into the same trap.

Anger is a choice.  We may blame others for our anger, but we can move beyond our anger and live a life of meekness.  Meekness is: “Yielding all of my rights and expectations to God.”  Whenever we become angry, it shows that there is an area in our life that we have yet to yield to God.  Here are three ways that we can move beyond anger and live a life of meekness.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S VIEW OF OUR ANGER

1. God’s commands us to put aside anger. Psalm 37:8 says: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Anger leads to wrath which leads to evil actions.  Anger destroys our Christian testimony. Our anger shows that we are defending our rights.  Our focus is not upon Christ, but upon ourselves.

2. God tells us that anger causes strife with others.  “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Proverbs 15:18) Anger creates strife in marriages, in parent-child relationships, in friendships, in work relationships as well as church relationships.  Our anger is divisive and very self-centered.  This is the very opposite of love.

3. God tells us to avoid friendship with angry people.  “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”  An angry person not only causes strife, but he also causes others to take up his angry cause.  Anger is like a contagious disease that goes from one person to another.  For this reason, we are not to develop close friendships with this type of person.

TRANSFORM YOUR ANGER TO MEEKNESS

1. Meekness is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)  Anger is often the symptom of something seriously wrong in our lives.  When the Holy Spirit controls us, anger will no longer control us.   Meekness must come from the Holy Spirit because it isn’t natural for us to yield up our rights to God.  

2. Meekness learns to pass over a transgression against us.  When somebody wrongs us, we react in anger.  Yes, this is natural, but it is also very destructive to us and to others.   Jesus Christ said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44) This is only possible when we yield the right to our time, possessions, reputation, etc. unto God.   Is this not what Joseph did in response to the treachery of his brothers?

3. Meekness remembers who we are in the eyes of God.   Angry people have an inflated view of their own importance.  We develop meekness when we look at ourselves from God’s perspective.  Paul didn’t become angry throughout his trials with others because he remembered that he was the greatest of all sinners, whom God saved.

4. Meekness is seen in the life of Christ “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)  When Christ came to earth, he gave up many of His rights “  He would experience hunger, pain, rejection and eventually death.  Why did he do this?  Christ demonstrated meekness because He saw that His rights were much less important than His mission to die on the cross for our sin.

Our anger says that my rights are more important than ministering to others.  Where would we be if Christ choose not yield his rights?  When Christ prayed to the Father, he laid down his rights.  “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Can we say the same prayer?

FOCUS ON THE FRUITS OF MEEKNESS

1. We will enjoy God’s presence and teaching: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)

2. We will walk in God’s peace and joy. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)

3. We will respond eagerly to God’s Word. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

4. We will experience contentment. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him:” (Psalm 22:26)

“Lord, I find it easy to become angry with difficult circumstances and difficult people.  My anger keeps me from enjoying your presence, peace and power.  I need to learn to yield all of my rights to you.  Please help me to develop a meek spirit.  Thank you for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who yielded His rights for my salvation. Amen”