Blessing the God of Blessings

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us” (Eph. 1:3).

When we bless God, it is with words of praise; when He blesses us, it is with deeds of kindness.

Paul’s brief doxology identifies God the Father as the ultimate recipient and source of blessing—the One to whom blessing is ascribed and the One who bestows blessings on those who love Him.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word eulogeō, from which we get eulogy. To bless or eulogize God is to praise Him for His mighty works and holy character. Read more…



REJECTING WORLDLY AMBITIONS

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

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Only Christ can satisfy your deepest needs.

Within every man and woman is a hunger and thirst only God can satisfy. That’s why Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

Sadly, most people search for happiness in the wrong places. The prodigal son in Luke 15 is one example. He turned from God to pursue sinful pleasures, but he soon discovered that sin cannot satisfy a hungering soul. That’s when he returned to his father’s house, where he was given a great feast—a picture of salvation.

The rich fool in Luke 12 thought that amassing possessions was the key to happiness, saying to himself, “‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops? … This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vv. 17–21). Unlike the prodigal son, the rich fool never turned to God in repentance. Consequently he lost everything.

The rich fool is typical of many people today who ignore Christ and attempt to fill the void with worldly pleasures. Most are oblivious to the eternal peril that awaits them if they don’t repent.

Those who love God shun worldliness, pursue righteousness, and know the satisfaction that comes from pleasing Him. That’s the essence of the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all [you need] shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Keep that goal uppermost in your mind as you face the challenge of each new day.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He satisfies the deepest desires of your heart.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 4:28–37. ✧ What was Nebuchadnezzar’s sin? ✧ How did God punish Him? ✧ How did Nebuchadnezzar respond after being punished?

Taken from “Drawing Near-Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith”, by Dr. John MacArthur



INHERITING THE EARTH

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“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

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Someday God will reverse the curse and return the earth to His people.

God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). But their sin cost them their sovereignty and brought a curse upon the earth (Gen. 3:17–18).

The Apostle Paul said, “The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God … in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom. 8:19–21). Someday that curse will be reversed, and God’s people will once again inherit the earth.

The Greek word translated “inherit” (Matt. 5:5) means “to receive an allotted portion.” The earth is the allotted portion of believers, who will reign with the Lord when He comes in His Kingdom (Rev. 20:6). That’s an emphatic promise in Matthew 5:5, which literally reads, “Blessed are the gentle, for only they shall inherit the earth.”

Many Jewish people of Christ’s day thought the Kingdom belonged to the strong, proud, and defiant. But Jesus said the earth will belong to the gentle, meek, and humble. Proud, self-righteous people don’t qualify (cf. Luke 1:46–55). Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become [humble and submissive] like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

As a recipient of God’s promises, you should be thrilled knowing that you will inherit the earth and reign with Christ in His earthly Kingdom. Be encouraged to know that even when evil people and godless nations seem to prosper, God is in complete control and will someday establish His righteous Kingdom on earth.

Rejoice in that assurance, and seek to be all He wants you to be until that great day.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that all of creation will someday be freed from sin’s corrupting influences. ✧ Praise Him for His mighty power, which will bring it all to pass.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 6:1–8. ✧ What issue did Paul address? ✧ How does the future reign of Christians apply to that issue?

Taken from “Drawing Near-Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith”, by Dr. John MacArthur



Controlling Yourself

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“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

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Gentleness is power under control.

The Greek word translated “gentle” in Matthew 5:5 speaks of humility, meekness, and non-retaliation—traits that in our proud society are often equated with weakness or cowardice. But in reality they are virtues that identify Kingdom citizens.

The same word was used by the Greeks to describe a gentle breeze, a soothing medicine, or a domesticated colt. Those are examples of power under control. A gentle breeze brings pleasure, but a hurricane brings destruction; a soothing medicine brings healing, but an overdose can kill; a domesticated colt is useful, but a wild horse is dangerous.

Christ Himself is the epitome of gentleness. Even when officially announcing His messiahship to Jerusalem, He humbly entered the city astride a donkey (Matt. 21:5). His behavior amid persecution was exemplary: “Christ … suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats” (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Despite His humility and restraint, Jesus wasn’t weak or cowardly. He never defended Himself, but when His Father’s house was being desecrated, He made a whip and beat those who were defiling it (John 2:13–16; Matt. 21:12–13). He never shirked from pronouncing judgment on unrepentant sinners and never compromised His integrity or disobeyed His Father’s will.

The hypocritical Jewish religious leaders expected that when Israel’s Messiah came, He would commend them for their wonderful spirituality. Instead, Jesus condemned them and called them children of the devil (John 8:44). In retaliation they had Him murdered. His power was always under control; theirs wasn’t.

Our society has little use for gentleness. The macho, do-your-own-thing mentality characterizes most of our heroes. But you are called to a higher standard. When you pattern your life after Jesus, you will have a significant impact on society and will know true happiness.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the virtue of gentleness, which He is producing in you by the power of His Spirit. Follow Christ’s example today so that gentleness will mark your character.

For Further Study: Read the following passages, noting the responsibilities and blessings that accompany self-restraint: Proverbs 16:32; Ephesians 4:1–2; Colossians 3:12; and Titus 3:1–2.

 

Taken from “Drawing Near-Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith”, by Dr. John MacArthur